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Full text of "Conciliation with the American colonies"

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CONCILIATION 



WITH THE 



AMERICAN COLONIES 



BY 
EDMUND BURKE 



WITH NOTES 



EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING COMPANY 

BOSTON 

New York Chicago San Francisco 






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24584 



Copyrighted 
By EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING COMPANY, 

1898. 



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EDMUND BURKE. 



CONCILIATION 

WITH THE AMERICAN COLONIES, 



I hope, Sir, that, notwithstanding the aus- 
terity of the Chair, your good-nature will 
incline you to some degree of indulgence 
towards human frailty. You will not think 
it unnatural, that those who have an object 5 
depending, which strongly engages their 
hopes and fears, should be somewhat in- 
clined to superstition. As I came into the 
House full of anxiety about the event of my 
motion, I found, to my infinite surprise, 10 
that the grand penal bill, by which we had 
passed sentence on the trade and sustenance 
of America, is to be returned to us from the 
other House. I do confess, I could not help 
looking on this event as a fortunate omen, is 

9 House. House of Commons; the speech was delivered in the Eng- 
lish House of Commons, March 22, 1775. 

11. grand penal bill, "an act to restrain the trade and commerce of 
the provinces of Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, the colonies 
of Connecticut and Rhode Island, and Providence Plantation, in North 
America, to Great Britian, Ireland, and the British Islands in the West 
Indies; and to prohibit such provinces and colonies from carrying 
on any fishery on the banks of Newfoundland, and other places therein 
mentioned, under certain conditions and limitations." 

14. other House, the House of the Lords had returned the bill with 
an amendment. 



6 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

I look upon it as a sort of providential 
favor ; by which we are put once more in 
possession of our deliberative capacity, upon 
a business so very questionable in its nature, 

5 so very uncertain in its issue. By the re- ' 
turn of this bill, which seemed to have taken 
its flight for ever, we are at this very instant 
nearly as free to choose a plan for our 
American government as we were on the 

10 first day of the session. If, Sir, we incline 
to the side of conciliation, we are not at all 
embarrassed (unless we please to make our- 
selves so) by any incongruous mixture of 
coercion and restraint. We are therefore 

is called upon, as it were by a superior warn- 
ing voice, again to attend to America; to 
attend to the whole of it together; and to 
review the subject with an unusual degree of 
care and calmness. 

20 Surely it is an awful subject ; or there is 
none so on this side of the grave. When I 
first had the honor of a seat in this House, 
the affairs of that continent pressed them- 
selves upon us, as the most important* and 

25 most delicate object of parliamentary atten- 
tion. My little share in this great delibera- 
tion oppressed me. I found myself a 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 7 

partaker in a very high trust ; and having 
no sort of reason to rely on the strength of 
my natural abilities for the proper execution 
of that trust, I was obliged to take more 
than common pains to instruct myself in 5 
everything which relates to our colonies. I 
was not less under the necessity of forming 
some fixed ideas concerning the general 
policy of the British Empire. Something 
of this sort seemed to be indispensable; in 10 
order, amid so vast a fluctuation of passions 
and opinions, to concentre my thoughts; to 
ballast my conduct ; to preserve me Yrom 
being blown about by every wind of fashion- 
able doctrine. I really did not think it safe, 15 
or manly, to have fresh principles to seek 
upon every fresh mail which should arrive 
from America. 

At that period I had the fortune to find 
myself in perfect concurrence with a larger 
majority in this House. Bowing under that 
high authority, and penetrated with the 
sharpness and strength of that early impres- 
sion, I have continued ever since, without 
the least deviation, in my original senti-2^ 
ments. Whether this be owing to an 

19. At that period. On the Repeal of the Stamp Act in 1776. 



8 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

obstinate perseverance in error, or to a 
religious adherence to what appears to me 
truth and reason, it is in your equity to 
judge. 

5 Sir, Parliament having an enlarged view 
of objects, made, during this interval, more 
frequent changes in their sentiments and 
their conduct, than could be justified in a 
particular person upon the contracted scale 

10 of private information. But though I do 
not hazard anything approaching to censure 
on the motives of former parliaments to all 
those alterations, one fact is undoubted, — 
that under them the state of America has 

15 been kept in continual agitation. Every- 
thing adminstered as remedy to the public 
complaint, if it did not produce, was at least 
followed by, an heightening of the dis- 
temper: until, by a variety of experiments, 

20 that important country has been brought 
into her present situation ; — a situation 
which I will not miscall, which I dare not 
name ; which I scarcely know how to com- 
prehend in the terms of any description. 

25 In this posture, Sir r things stood at the 
beginning of the session. About that time, 

21. The Battle of Lexington was fought the following month. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 9 

a worthy member of great parliamentary ex- 
perience, who, in the year 1766, filled the 
chair of the American committee with much 
ability, took me aside; and, lamenting the 
present aspect of our politics, told me, 5 
things were come to such a pass, that our 
former methods of proceedings in the House 
would be no longer tolerated. That the 
public tribunal (never too indulgent to a 
long and unsuccessful opposition) would 10 
now scrutinize our conduct with unusual 
severity. That the very vicissitudes and 
shiftings of ministerial measures, instead of 
convicting their authors of inconstancy and 
want of system, would be taken as an occa-is 
sion of charging us with a predetermined 
discontent, which nothing could satisfy ; 
whilst we accused every measure of vigor 
as cruel, and every proposal of lenity as 
weak and irresolute. The public, he said, 20 
would not have patience to see us play the 
game out with our adversaries : we must 
produce our hand. It would be expected, 
that those who for many years had been 
active in such affairs should show, that they 25 
had formed some clear and decided idea of 

1. Mr. Rose Fuller: he had introduced a motion to repeal the 
American tea duty 



10 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

the principles of colony government ; and 
were capable of drawing out something like 
a platform of the ground which might be 
laid for future and permanent tranquility. 

s I felt the truth of what my honorable 
friend represented ; but I felt my situation 
too. His application might have been made 
with far greater propriety to many other 
gentlemen. No man was indeed ever better 

10 disposed, or worse qualified, for such an 
undertaking, than myself. Though I gave 
so far in to his opinion, that' I immediately 
threw my thoughts into a sort of parlia- 
mentary form, I was by no means equally 

is ready to produce them. It generally argues 
some degree of natural impotence of mind, 
or some want of knowledge of the world, to 
hazard plans of government except from a 
seat of authority. Propositions are made, 

20 not only ineffectually, but somewhat disre- 
putably, when the minds of men are not 
properly disposed for their reception ; and 
for my part, I am not ambitious of ridicule ; 
not absolutely a candidate for disgrace. 

25 Besides, Sir, to speak the plain truth, I 
have in general no very exalted opinion 

3. platform, plan. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 11 

of paper government ; nor of any politics 
in which the plan is to be wholly separated 
from the execution. But when I saw that 
anger and violence prevailed every day more 
and more ; and that things were hastening 5 
towards an incurable alienation of our col- 
onies ; I confess my caution gave way. I felt 
this, as one of those few moments in which 
decorum yields to a higher duty. Public 
calamity is a mighty leveller ; and there are 10 
occasions when any, even the slightest chance 
of doing good, must be laid hold on, even by 
the most inconsiderable person. 

To restore order and repose to an empire 
so great and so distracted as ours, is, merely 15 
in the attempt, an undertaking that would 
ennoble the flights of the highest genius, and 
obtain pardon for the efforts of the meanest 
understanding. Struggling a good while with 

© e'er? © o 

these thoughts, by degrees I felt myself more 20 
firm. I derived, at length, some confidence 
from what in other circumstances usually pro- 
duces timidity. I grew less anxious, even 
from the idea of my own insignificance. For, 
judging of what you are by what you ought 25 
to be, I persuaded myself that you would not 

1. paper government, theoretical plans. 



12 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

reject a reasonable proposition because it had 
nothing but its reason to recommend it. On 
the other hand, being totally destitute of all 
shadow of influence, natural or adventitious, 

5 1 was very sure, that, if my proposition were 
futile or dangerous ; if it were weakly con- 
ceived, or improperly timed, there was noth- 
ing exterior to it, of power to awe, dazzle, 
or delude you. You will see it just as it is : 

10 and you will treat it just as it deserves. 

The proposition is peace. Not peace 
through the medium of war ; not peace to 
be hunted through the labyrinth of intricate 
and endless negotiations ; not peace to arise 

is out of universal discord, fomented from prin- 
ciple, in all parts of the empire ; not peace 
to depend on the juridical determination of 
perplexing questions, or the precise marking 
the shadowy boundaries of a complex gov- 

2oernment. It is simple peace ; sought in its 
natural course, and in its ordinary haunts. — 
It is peace sought in the spirit of peace ; and 
laid in principles purely pacific. I propose, 
by removing the ground of the difference, 

26 and by restoring the former unsuspecting 
^confidence of the colonies in the Mother Coun- 

25. '■'■unsuspecting confidence in the Mother Country," words used in 
an address by the American Congress in Philadelphia. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 13 

try, to give permanent satisfaction to your 
people ; and (far from a scheme of ruling by 
discord) to reconcile them to each other in 
the same act, and by the bond of the very 
same interest which reconciles them to Brit- 5 
ish government. 

My idea is nothing more. Refined policy 
ever has been the parent of confusion ; and 
ever will be so, as long as the world endures. 
Plain good intention, which is as easily dis-io 
covered at the first view, as fraud is surely 
detected at last, is, let me say, of no mean 
force in the government of mankind. Gen- 
uine simplicity of heart is an healing and 
cementing principle. My plan, therefore, 1 5 
being formed upon the most simple grounds 
imaginable, may disappoint some people, 
when they hear it. It has nothing to 
recommend it to the pruriency of curious 
ears. There is nothing at all new and cap- 20 
tivating in it. It has nothing of the splen- 
dor of the project, which has been lately 
laid upon your table by the noble lord in the 
blue ribbon. It does not propose to fill your 

24. Resolution moved by Lord North, Knight of the Garter (blue 
ribbon). " That when . . . any . . . colonies in America, shall propose 
to make provision, . . . for contributing; their prop or ion to the common 
defenceit will be proper, to forbear, to impose any further duty, tax, or 
assessment, except such duties as it may be expedient to continue to 
levy or impose, for regulation of commerce," etc. ; the offer was re- 
jected by the Continental Congress. 



14 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

lobby with squabbling colony agents, who 
will require the interposition of your mace, 
at every instant, to keep the peace amongst 
them. It does not institute a magnificent 

* auction of finance, where captivated prov- 
inces come to general ransom by bidding 
against each other, until you knock down 
the hammer, and determine a proportion of 
payments beyond all the powers of algebra 

10 to equalize and settle. 

The plan which I shall presume to suggest, 
derives, however, one great advantage from 
the proposition and registry of that noble 
lord's project. The idea of conciliation is 

15 admissible. First, the House, in accepting 
the resolution moved by the noble lord, has 
admitted, notwithstanding the menacing front 
of our address, notwithstanding our heavy 
bills of pains and penalties — that we do not 

20 think ourselves precluded from all ideas of 
free grace and bounty. 

The House has gone further; it has 
declared conciliation admissible, previous to 

1. agent-, as the colonies had no representative in Parliament, they 
arranged with certain members to look after their interests. 

2. mac, staff, symbol of authority, kept on the Speaker's desk in 
the House of Commons. 

18. address, Lord North had presented an address to the King declar- 
ing that Massachusetts was in rebellion and urging mtasures of repres- 
sion. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 15 

any submission on the part of America. It 
has even shot a good deal beyond that mark, 
and has admitted, that the complaints of our 
former mode of exerting: the rio'ht of taxation 
were not wholly unfounded. That right thus 5 
exerted is allowed to have had something 
reprehensible in it; something unwise, or 
something grievous ; since, in the midst of 
our heat and resentment, we, of ourselves, 
have proposed a capital alteration; and, in^ 
order to get rid of what seemed so very 
exceptionable, have instituted a mode that is 
altogether new; one that is, indeed, wholly 
alien from all the ancient methods and forms 
of parliament. i* 

The principle of this proceeding is large 
enough for my purpose. The means pro- 
posed by the noble lord for carrying his 
ideas into execution, I think, indeed, are 
very indifferently suited to the end ; and 20 
this I shall endeavor to show you before I 
sit down. But, for the present, I take my 
ground on the admitted principle. I mean 
to give peace. Peace implies reconciliation ; 
and, where there has been a material dispute, » 
reconciliation does in a manner always imply 
concession on the one part or on the other. 



16 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

In this state of things I make no difficulty in 
affirming that the proposal ought to originate 
from us. Great and acknowledged force is 
not impaired, either in effect or in opinion, 
5 by an unwillingness to exert itself. The 
superior power may offer peace with honor 
and with safety. Such an offer from such a 
power will be attributed to magnanimity. 
But the concessions of the weak are the 

10 concessions of fear. When such a one is 
disarmed, he is wholly at the mercy of his 
superior ; and he loses for ever that time and 
those chances, which, as they happen to all 
men, are the strength and resources of all 

is inferior power. 

The capital leading questions on which 
you must this day decide, are these two : 
First, whether you ought to concede; and 
secondly, what your concession ought to be. 

20 On the first of these questions we have gained 
(as I have just taken the liberty of observing 
to you) some ground. But I am sensible 
that a good deal more is still to be done. 
Indeed, Sir, to enable us to determine both 

25 on the one and the other of these great 
questions with a firm and precise judgment, 
I think it may be necessary to consider 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 17 

distinctly the true nature and the peculiar 
circumstances of the object which we have 
before us. Because after all our struggle, 
whether we will or not, we must govern 
America according to that nature, and to 5 
those circumstances ; and not according to our 
own imaginations ; not according to abstract 
ideas of right ; by no means according to mere 
general theories of government, the resort to 
which appears to me, in our present situation, 10 
no better than arrant trifling. I shall there- 
fore endeavor, with your leave, to lay before 
you some of the most material of these cir- 
cumstances in as full and as clear a manner 
as I am able to state them. 15 

The first thing that we have to consider 
with regard to the nature of the object is — 
the number of people in the colonies. I have 
taken for some years a good deal of pains on 
that point. I can by no calculation justify 20 
myself in placing the number below two 
millions of inhabitants of our own European 
blood and color; besides at least 500,000 
others, who form no inconsiderable part of 
the strength and opulence of the whole. 25 
This, Sir, is, I believe, about the true num- 
ber. There is no occasion to exaggerate, 



18 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

where plain truth is of so much weight and 
importance. But whether I put the presem 
numbers too high or too low, is a matter- of 
little moment. Such is the strength with 

5 which population shoots in that part of the 
world, that state the numbers as high as we 
will, whilst the dispute continues, the exag- 
geration ends. Whilst we are discussing 
any given magnitude, they are grown to it. 

10 Whilst we spend our time in deliberating on 
the mode of governing two millions, we shall 
find we have millions more to manage. Your 
children do not grow faster from infancy to 
manhood, than they spread from families to 

is communities, and from villages to nations. 

I put this consideration of the present and 

the growing numbers in the front of our 

deliberation ; because, Sir, this consideration 

will make it evident to a blunter discernment 

20 than yours, that no partial, narrow, con- 
tracted, pinched, occasional system will be 
at all suitable to such an object. It will 
show you, that it is not to be considered as 
one of those minima (trifles) which are out 

25 of the eye and consideration of the law ; not 
a paltry excrescence of the state ; not a mean 
dependent, who may be neglected with little 



CONCILIATION AVITH AMERICA. 19 

damage, and ^provoked with little danger. 
It will prove that some degree of care and 
caution is required in the handling such an 
object ; it will show that you ought not, in 
reason, to trifle with so large a mass of the 5 
interests and feelings of the human race. 
You could at no time do so without guilt ; 
and be assured you will not be able to do it 
long with impunity. 

But the population of this country, the 10 
great and growing population, though a very 
important consideration, will lose much of 
its weight, if not combined with other cir- 
cumstances. The commerce of your colonies 
is out of all proportion beyond the numbers 15 
of the people. This ground of their com- 
merce indeed has been trod some days ago, 
and with great ability, by a distinguished 
person at your bar. This gentleman, after 
thirty-five years — it is so long since he firsts 
appeared at the same place to plead for the 
commerce of Great Britain — has come again 
before you to plead the same cause, without 
any other effect of time, than, that to the fire 
of imagination and extent of erudition, which 25 
even then marked him as one of the first 

19. gentleman, Mr. Glover, an author of some repute, and an agent 
for the West India Planters. 



20 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

literary characters of his age 9 he has added a 
consummate knowledge in the commercial 
interest of his country, formed by a long 
course of enlightened and discriminating 

5 experience. 

Sir, I should be inexcusable in coming 
after such a person with any detail, if a 
great part of the members who now fill the 
House had not the misfortune to be absent 

10 when he appeared at your bar. Besides, 
Sir, I propose to take the matter at periods 
of time somewhat different from his. There 
is, if I mistake not, a point of view, from 
whence if you will look at this subject, it is 

is impossible that it should not make an impres- 
sion upon you. 

I have in my hand two accounts ; one a 
comparative state of the export trade of Eng- 
land to its colonies, as it stood in the year 

20 1704, and as it stood in the year 1772. The 
other a state of the export trade of this coun- 
try to its colonies alone, as it stood in 1772, 
compared with the whole trade of England to 
all parts of the world (the colonies iucluded) 

2© in the year 1704. They are from good 
vouchers ; the latter period from the accounts 

18. state, statement. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 21 

on your table, the earlier frora an original 
manuscript of Davenant, who first established 
the inspector-general's office, which has been 
ever since his time so abundant a source of 
parliamentary information. 5 

The export trade to the colonies consists 
of three great branches. The African, 
wtrch, terminating almost wholly in the 
colonies, must be put to the account of their 
commerce ; the West Indian ; and the North 10 
American. All these are so interwoven, 
that the attempt to separate them, would 
tear to pieces the contexture of the whole ; 
and if not entirely destroy, would very much 
depreciate the value of all the parts. I 18 
therefore consider these three denominations 
to be, what in effect they are, one trade. 

The trade to the colonies, taken on the 
export side, at the beginning of this century, 
that is, in the year 1704, stood thus : t* 

Exports to North America, 

and the West Indies . . £483,265 
To Africa 86,665 



£569,930 



2. Davenant, Charles Davenant (1656-1714). 
7. African, slave trade. 



22 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

In the year 1772, which I take as a middle 
year between the highest and lowest of those 
lately laid on your table, the account was as 
follows : 

To North America, and the 

West Indies . . \ . £4,791,734 

To Africa 866,398 

To which if you add the ex- 
port trade from Scotland, 
which had in 1704 no 
existence 364,000 



£6,022,132 



From five hundred and odd thousand, it 
has grown to six millions. It has increased 

is no less than twelve-fold. This is the state 
of the colony trade, as compared with itself 
at these two periods, within this century; — 
and this is matter for meditation. But this 
is not all. Examine my second account. 

20 See how the export trade to the colonies 
alone in 1772 stood in the other point of 
view, that rs, as compared to the whole trade 
of England in 1704. 

The whole export trade of 
& England, including that 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 23 

to the colonies, in 1704, £6,509,000 
Export to the colonies alone, 

in 1772 6,024,000 



Difference £485,000 

The trade with America alone is now 5 
within less than £500,000 of being equal to 
what this great commercial nation, England, 
carried on at the beginning of this century 
with the whole world ! If I had taken the 
largest year of those on your table, it would 10 
rather have exceeded. But, it will be said, 
is not this American trade an unnatural pro- 
tuberance that has drawn the juices from the 
rest of the body? The reverse. It is the 
very food that has nourished every other 15 
part into its present magnitude. Our gen- 
eral trade has been greatly augmented, and 
augmented more or less in almost every part 
to which it ever extended; but with this 
material difference, that of the six millions 20 
which in the beginning of the century con- 
stituted the whole mass of our export com- 
merce, the colony trade was but one-twelfth 
part ; it is now (as a part of sixteen millions) 
considerably more than a third of the whole. 26 
This is the relative proportion of the impor- 



24 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

tance of the colonies at these two periods ; 
and all reasoning concerning our mode of 
treating them must have this proportion as 
its basis, or it is a reasoning weak, rotten 

5 and sophistical. 

Mr. Speaker, I cannot prevail on myself 
to hurry over this great consideration. It is 
good for us to be here. We stand where we 
have an immense view of what is, and what 

10 is past. Clouds, indeed, and darkness rest 
upon the future. Let us, however, before 
we descend from this noble eminence, reflect 
that this growth of our national prosperity 
has happened within the short period of the 

is life of man. It has happened within sixty- 
eight years. There are those alive whose 
memory might touch the two extremities. 
For instance, my Lord Bathurst might 
remember all the stages of the progress. 

2eHe was in 1704 of an age at least to be made 
to comprehend such things. He was then 
old enough acta parentum jam leg ere, et quad 
sitpoterit cognoscere virtus (to study the doings 
of his forefathers, and to learn the meaning of 

^virtue) — Suppose, Sir, that the angel of this 
auspicious youth, forseeing the many virtues, 

18. Lord Bathurst, Allen Bathurst, (1684-1775) ; made Earl in 1772. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 25 

which made him one of the most amiable, as 
he is one of the most fortunate, men of his 
age, had opened to him in vision, that when, 
in the fourth generation, the third prince of 
the House of Brunswick had sat twelve years s 
on the throne of that nation, which (by the 
happy issue of moderate and healing coun- 
sels) was to be made Great Britain, he 
should see his son, Lord Chancellor of Eng- 
land, turn back the current of hereditary 10 
dignity to its fountain, and raise him to a 
higher rank of peerage, whilst he enriched 
the family with a new one — If amidst these 
bright and happy scenes of domestic honor 
arid prosperity, that angel should have drawn 15 
up the curtain,. and unfolded the rising glories 
of his country, and whilst he was gazing with 
admiration on the then commercial grandeur 
of England, the genius should point out to 
him a little speck, scarce visible in the mass 20 
of the national interest, a small seminal prin- 
ciple, rather than a formed body, and should 
tell him — " Young man, there is America — 

4. third prince, George III., King of England. His father died be- 
fore coming to the throne, hence George III. was of the fourth genera- 
tion. 

8. Great Britain, England and Scotland were finally united in 1707, 
and thereafter called Great Britian. 

21. teminal, primal, growing, (seed, germ). 



26 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

which at this day serves for little more than 
to amuse you with stories of savage men, 
and uncouth manners; yet shall, before you 
taste of death, show itself equal to the whole 

5 of that commerce which now attracts the 
envy of the world. Whatever England has 
been growing to by a progressive increase 
of improvement, brought in by varieties of 
people, by succession of civilizing conquests 

10 and civilizing settlements in a series of 
seventeen hundred years, you shall see as 
much added to her by America in the course 
of a single life ! " If this state of his country 
had been foretold to him, would it not re- 

15 quire all the sanguine credulity of youth, 
and all the fervid glow of enthusiasm, to 
make him believe it? Fortunate man, he has 
lived to see it? Fortunate indeed, if he lives 
to see nothing that shall vary the prospect, 

20 and cloud the setting of his day ! 

Excuse me, Sir, if turning from such 
thoughts I resume this comparative view 
once more. You have seen it on a large 
scale; look at it on a small one. I will 

as point out to your attention a particular 
instance of it in the single province of Penn- 
sylvania. In the year 1704, that province 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 27 

called for £11,459 in value of your commo- 
dities, native and foreign. This was the 
whole. What did it demand in 1772? Why 
nearly fifty times as much ; for in that year 
the export to Pennsylvania was £507,909,* 
nearly equal to the export to all the colonies 
together in the first period. 

I choose, Sir, to enter into these minute and 
particular details ; because generalities, which 
in all other cases are apt to heighten and raise 1 * 
the subject, have here a tendency to sink it. 
When we speak of the commerce with our 
colonies, fiction lags after truth ; invention is 
unfruitful, and imagination cold and barren. 

So far, Sir, as to the importance of the 15 
object in view of its commerce, as concerned 
in the exports from England. If I were to 
detail the imports, I could show how many 
enjoyments they procure, which deceive the 
burthen of life; how many materials which 2 * 
invigorate the springs of national industry, 
and extend and animate every part of our 
foreign and domestic commerce. This would 
be a curious subject, indeed — but I must 
prescribe bounds to myself in a matter so 25 
vast and various. 

19. deceive, beguile, cheat. 



28 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

I pass therefore to the colonies in another 
point of view, their agriculture. This they 
have prosecuted with such a spirit, that, 
besides feeding plentifully their own grow- 
ling multitude, their annual export of grain, 
comprehending rice, has some years ago 
exceeded a million in value. Of their last 
harvest, I am persuaded they will export 
much more. At the beginning of the cen- 
10 tury some of these colonies imported corn 
from the mother country. For some time 
past, the Old World has been fed from the 
New. The scarcity which you have felt 
would have been a desolating famine, if this 
15 child of your old age, with a true filial piety, 
with a Roman charity, had not put the full 
breast of its youthful exuberance to the 
mouth of its exhausted parent. 

As to the wealth which the colonies have 
30 drawn from the sea by their fisheries, you 
had all that matter fully opened at your bar. 
You surely thought these acquisitions of 
value, for they seemed even to excite your 
envy ; and yet the spirit by which that en- 

10. corn, grain, i. e., wheat, oats, etc. 

16. Roman charity, referring to the story of a Roman prisoner, wfaa 
being left to die of starvation, was nourished by his daughter with 
milk from her own breasts. See Byron's " Childe Harold." 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 29 

ierprising employment has been exercised, 
it rather, in my opinion, to have raised 
esteem and admiration. And pray, 
Sir, what in the world is equal to it? Pass 
by the other parts, and look at the manner 5 
in which the people of New England have of 
late carried on the whale fishery. Whilst we 
follow them among the tumbling mountains 
of ice, and behold them penetrating into the 
deepest frozen recesses of Hudson's Bay and 10 
Davis's Straits, whilst we are looking for 
them beneath the arctic circle, we hear that 
they have pierced into the opposite region of 
polar cold, that they are at the antipodes, 
and engaged under the frozen serpent of the 15 
south. Falkland Island, which seemed too 
remote and romantic an object for the grasp 
of national ambition, is but a stage and rest- 
ing-place in the progress of their victorious 
industry. Nor is the equinoctial heat more 20 
discouraging to them, than the accumulated 
winter of both the poles. We know that 
whilst some of them draw the line and strike 
the harpoon on the coast of Africa, others 
run the longitude, and pursue their gigantic 25 

15. frozen serpent , a small constellation within the Antarctic circle. 

16. Falkland Island, one of a group of islands off southeast coast 
•f South America. 



30 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

game along the coast of Brazil. No sea but 
what is vexed by their fisheries. No climate 
that is not witness to their toils. Neither 
the perseverance of Holland, nor the activity 

5 of France, nor the dexterous and firm sagac- 
ity of English enterprise, ever carried this 
most perilous mode of hardy industry to the 
extent to which it has been pushed by this 
recent people ; a people who are still, as it 

10 were, but in the gristle, and not yet hard- 
ened into the bone of manhood. When I 
contemplate these things ; when I know that 
the colonies in general owe little or nothing 
to any care of ours, and that they are not 

15 squeezed into this happy form by the con- 
straints of watchful and suspicious govern- 
ment, but that, through a wise and salutary 
neglect, a generous nature has been suffered 
to take her own way to perfection ; when I 

20 reflect upon these effects, when I see how 
profitable they have been to us, I feel all the 
pride of power sink, and all presumption in 
the wisdom of human contrivances melt and 
die away within me. My rigor relents. I 

25 pardon something to the spirit of liberty. 
I am sensible, Sir, that all which I have 
asserted in my detail, is admitted in the 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 31 

gross ; but that quite a different conclusion 
is drawn from it. America, gentlemen say, 
is a noble object. It is an object well worth 
fighting for. Certainly it is, if fighting a 
people be the best way of gaining them. 5 
Gentlemen in this respect will be led to 
their choice by means of their complexions 
and their habits. Those who understand the 
military art, will of course have some predi- 
lection for it. Those who wield the thunder 10 
of the state, may have more confidence in the 
efficacy of arms. But I confess, possibly for 
want of this knowledge, my opinion is much 
more in favor of prudent management, than 
of force; considering force not as an odious, 15 
but a feeble instrument, for preserving a 
people so numerous, so active, so growing, 
so spirited as this, in a profitable and subor- 
dinate connection with us. 

First, Sir," permit me to observe, that the 2$ 
use of force alone is but temporary. It may 
subdue for a moment ; but it does not remove 
the necessity of subduing again ; and a nation 
is not governed, which is perpetually to be 
conquered. ' 2s 

My next objection is its uncertainty. 
Terror is not always the effect of force ; 



32 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

and an armament is not a victory. If you 
do not succeed, you are without resource; 
for, conciliation failing, force remains ; but, 
force failing, no further hope of reconcilia- 
tion is left. Power and authority are some-, 
times bought by kindness ; but they can 
never be begged as alms by an impover- 
ished and defeated violence. 

A further objection to force is, that you 
10 impair the object by your very endeavors to 
preserve it. The thing you fought for is 
not the thing which you recover ; but depre- 
ciated, sunk, wasted, and consumed in the 
contest. Nothing less will content me, than 
is whole America, I do not choose to consume 
its strength along with our own ; because in 
all parts it is the British strength that I con- 
sume. 1 do not choose to be caught by a 
foreign enemy at the end of this exhausting 
20 conflict; and still less in the midst of it. I 
may escape ; but I can make no insurance 
against such an event. Let me add, tLat I 
do not choose wholly to break the American 
spirit; because it is the spirit that has made 
25 the country. 

Lastly, we have no sort of experience in 
favor of force as an instrument in the rule 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 33 

of our colonies. Their growth and their 
utility has been owing to methods altogether 
different. Our ancient indulgence has been 
said to be pursued to a fault. It may be so. 
But we know if feeling is evidence, that our 5 
fault was more tolerable than our attempt to 
mend it ; and our sin far more salutary than 
our penitence. 

These, Sir, are my reasons for not enter- 
taining that high opinion of untried force, by 10 
which many gentlemen, for whose sentiments 
.in other particulars I have great respect, seem 
to be so greatly captivated. But there is still 
behind a third consideration concerning this 
object, which serves to determine my opinion 15 
on the sort of policy which ought to be pur- 
sued in the management of America, even 
more than its population and its commerce, 
I mean its temper and character. 

In this character of the Americans, a love 20 
of freedom is the predominating feature which 
marks and distinguishes the whole : and as an 
ardent is always a jealous affection, your col- 
onies become suspicious, restive, and un tract- 
able, whenever they see the least attempt to 25 
wrest from them by force, or shuffle from 
them by chicane, what they think the only 



34 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

advantage worth living for. This fierce spirit 
of liberty is stronger in the English colonies 
probably than in any other people of the 
earth ; and this from a great variety of pow- 
erful causes; which, to understand the true 
temper of their minds, and the direction 
which this spirit takes, it will not be amiss 
to lay open somewhat more largely. 

First, the people of the colonies are 

10 descendants of Englishmen. England, Sir, 

is a nation, which still I hope respects, and 

formerly adored, her freedom. The colonists 

emigrated from you when this part of your 

character was most predominant ; and they 

15 took this bias and direction the moment 

they parted from your hands. They are 

therefore not only devoted to liberty, but 

to liberty according to English ideas, and on 

English principles. Abstract liberty, like 

20 other mere abstractions, is not to be found. 

Liberty inheres in some sensible object ; 

and every nation has formed to itself some 

favorite point ; which by way of eminence 

becomes the criterion of their happiness. 

25 It happened, you know, Sir, that the great 

contests for freedom in this country were 

from the earliest time chiefly upon the ques- 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 35 

tion of taxing. Most of the contests in the 
ancient commonwealths turned primarily on 
the right of election of magistrates ; or, on 
the balance among the several orders of the 
state. The question of money was not with* 
them so immediate. But in England it was 
otherwise. On this point of taxes the ablest 
pens, and most eloquent tongues have been 
exercised ; the greatest spirits have acted and 
suffered. In order to give the fullest satis- 10 
faction concerning the importance of this 
point, it was not only necessary for those 
who in argument defended the excellence of 
the English constitution, to insist, on this 
privilege of granting money as a dry point is 
of fact, and to prove, that the right had 
been acknowledged in ancient parchments, 
and blind usages, to reside in a certain body 
called a House of Commons. They went 
much farther; they attempted to prove, and 20 
they succeeded, that in theory it ought to be 
so, from the particular nature of a House of 
Commons, as an immediate representative 
of the people ; whether the old records had 
delivered this oracle or not. They took 25 
infinite pains to inculcate, as a fundamental 
principle, that in all monarchies the people 



36 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

must in effect themselves, mediately or 
immediately, possess the power of granting 
their own money, or no shadow of liberty 
could subsist. The colonies draw from you, 

5 as with their life-blood, these ideas and prin- 
ciples. Their love of liberty, as with you, 
fixed and attached on this specific point of 
taxing. Liberty might be safe, or might 
be endangered, in twenty other particulars, 

10 without their being much pleased or alarmed. 
Here they felt its pulse ; and as they found 
that beat, they thought themselves sick or 
sound. I do not say whether they were 
right or wrong in applying your general 

15 arguments to their own case. It is not easy 
indeed to make a monopoly of theorems and 
corollaries. The fact is, that they did thus 
apply those general arguments ; and your 
mode of governing them, whether through 

20 lenity or indolence, through wisdom or mis- 
take, confirmed them in the imagination, that 
they, as well as you, had an interest in these 
common principles, v 

They were further confirmed in this pleas- 

^ing error by the form of their provincial 
legislative assemblies. Their governments 
are popular in a high degree ; some are 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 37 

merely popular; in all, the popular repre- 
sentative is the most weighty ; and this 
share of the people in their ordinary gov- 
ernment never fails to inspire them with 
lofty sentiments, and with a strong aversion * 
from whatever tends to deprive them of their 
chief importance. 

If anything were wanting to this necessary 
operation of the form of government, reli- 
gion would have given it a complete effect. 10 
Religion, always a principle of energy, in this 
new people, is no way worn out or impaired ; 
and their mode of professing it is also one 
main cause of this free spirit. The people 
are Protestants ; and of that kind which is i* 
the most adverse to all implicit submission of 
mind and opinion. This is a persuasion not 
only favorable to liberty, but built upon it. 
I do not think, Sir, that the reason of this 
averseness in the dissenting churches, from 20 
all that looks like absolute government, is so 
much to be sought in their religious tenets, 
as in their history. Every one knows that 
the Roman Catholic religion is at least coeval 
with most of the governments where itTpre-* 
vails ; that it has generally gone hand in 

1. popular, democratic. 



38 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

hand with them, and received great favor 
and every kind of support from authority. 
The Church of England too was formed from 
her cradle under the nursing care of regular 

5 government. But the dissenting interests 
have sprung up in direct opposition to all 
the ordinary powers of the world ; and could 
justify that opposition only on a strong claim 
to natural liberty. Their very existence 

10 depended on the powerful and unremitted 
assertion of that claim. All Protestantism, 
even the most cold and passive, is a sort of 
dissent. But the religion most prevalent in 
our northern colonies is a refinement on the 

15 principle of resistance; it is the dissidence 
of dissent, and the Protestantism of the 
Protestant religion. This religion, under a 
variety of denominations agreeing in nothing 
but in the communion of the spirit of liberty, 

so is predominant in most of the northern prov- 
inces ; where the Church of England, not- 
withstanding its legal rights, is in reality no 
more than a sort of private sect, not compos- 
ing most probably the tenth of the people. 

25 The colonists left England when this spirit 
was high, and in the emigrants was the 

15. dissidence, extreme dissent. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 39 

highest of all ; and even that stream of 
foreigners, which has been constantly flow- 
ing into these colonies, has, for the greatest 
part, been composed of dissenters from the 
establishments of their several countries, and 5 
have brought with them a temper and char- 
acter far from alien to that of the people with 
whom they mixed. 

Sir, I can perceive by their manner, that 
some gentlemen object to the latitude of this 10 
description ; because in the southern colonies 
the Church of England forms a large body, 
and has a regular establishment. It is cer- 
tainly true. There is, however, a circum- 
stance attending these colonies, which, in is 
my opinion, fully counterbalances this dif- 
ference, and makes the spirit of liberty still 
more high and haughty than in those to 
the northward. It is, that in Virginia and 
the Carolinas they have a vast multitude of 20 
slaves. Where this is the case in any part 
of the world, those who are free, are by far 
the most proud and jealous of their freedom. 
Freedom is to them not only an enjoyment, 
but a kind of rank and privilege. Not seeing 25 
there, that freedom, as in countries where it 
is a common blessing, and as broad and 



40 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

general as the air, may be united with much 
abject toil, with great misery, with all the 
exterior of servitude, liberty looks, amongst 
them, like something that is more noble and 

6 liberal. I do not mean, Sir, to commend the 
superior morality of this sentiment, which 
has at least as much pride as virtue in it ; 
but I cannot alter the nature of man. The 
fact is so ; and these people of the southern 

10 colonies are much more strongly, and with 

a higher and more stubborn spirit attached 

* to liberty, than those to the northward. 

Such were all the ancient commonwealths ; 

such were our Gothic ancestors ; such in our 

15 days were the Poles; and such will be all 
masters of slaves, who are not slaves them- 
selves. In such a people, the haughtiness of 
domination combines with the spirit of free- 
dom, fortifies it, and renders it invincible. 

20 Permit me, Sir, to add another circum- 
stance in our colonies, which contributes no 
mean part towards the growth and effect of 
this untractable spirit. I mean their educa- 
tion. In no country perhaps in the world is 

25 the law so general a study. The profession 

14. Gothic, more correctly Anglo-Saxon, but in the last century all 
Germanic tribes were called Gothic. 

15. were the Poles, the first partition of Poland had just taken place, 
1772. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 41 

itself is numerous and powerful ; and in most 
provinces it takes the lead. The greater 
number of the deputies sent to the congress 
were lawyers. But all who read, and most 
do read, endeavor to obtain some smatterings 
in that science. I have been told by an 
eminent bookseller, that in no branch of his 
business, after tracts of popular devotion, 
were so many books as those on the law 
exported to the plantations. The colonists 10 
have now fallen into the way of printing 
them for their own use. I hear that they 
have sold nearly as many of Blackstone's 
Commentaries in America as in England. 
General Gage marks out this disposition is 
very particularly in a letter on your table. 
He states, that all the people in his govern- 
ernment are lawyers, or smatterers in law; 
and that in Boston they have been enabled, 
by successful chicane, wholly to evade many^ 
parts of one of your capital penal constitu- 
tions. The smartness of debate will say, 

3. co?igress, First Colonial Congress, Philadelphia, 1774. 

14. Blackstone's Commentaries, Sir Wi liam Blackstone's Commenta- 
ries on the Laws of England; a standard work. 

15. General Gage, Commander of the British Troops in Boston. 

20. chicane, as the colonists were restricted from holding town meet- 
ings after August 1, 1774, without the consent of the Governor, they 
held " adjourned " meetings. 



42 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

that this knowledge oiight to teach them 
more clearly the rights of legislature, their 
obligations to obedience, and the penalties of 
rebellion. All this is mighty well. But my 

s honorable and learned friend on the floor, 
who condescends to mark what I say for 
animadversion, will disdain that ground. 
He has heard, as well as I, that when great 
honors and great emoluments do not win 

10 over this knowledge to the service of the 
state, it is a formidable adversary to govern- 
ment. If the spirit be not tamed and broken 
by these happy methods, it is stubborn and 
litigious. Abeunt studia in mores. (Pur- 

is suits influence character.} This study ren- 
ders men acute, inquisitive, dexterous, 
prompt in attack, ready in defence, full of 
resources. In other countries, the people, 
more simple, and of a less mercurial cast, 

sojudge of an ill principle in government only 
by an actual grievance ; here they anticipate 
the evil, and judge of the pressure of the 
grievance by the badness of the principle. 
They augur misgovernment at a distance; 

25 and snuff the approach of tyranny in every 
tainted breeze. 

5. friend, Attorney General, Thurlow. 



-CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 43 

The last cause of this disobedient spirit in 
the colonies is hardly less powerful than the 
rest, as it is not merely moral, but laid deep 
in the natural constitution of things. Three 
thousand miles of ocean lie between you and* 
them. No contrivance can prevent the effect 
of this distance in weakening government. 
Seas roll, and months pass, between the 
order and the execution ; and the want of 
a speedy explanation of a single point is 10 
enough to defeat a whole system. You 
have, indeed, winged ministers of vengeance, 
who carry your bolts in their pounces to the 
remotest verge of the sea. But there a 
power steps in, that limits the arrogance of w 
raging passions and furious elements, and 
says, " So far shalt thou go, and no farther." 
Who are you that should fret and rage and 
bite the chains of nature? — Nothing worse 
happens to you than does to all nations who 20 
have extensive empire ; and it happens in all 
the forms into which empire can be thrown. 
In large bodies, the circulation of power 
must be less vigorous at the extremities. 

12. ministers of vengeance, warships. 

13. pounces, talons, = cannon. 

17. " So far shalt thou go, and no farther," See Job XXXVIII, II: 
"Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further; and here shall thy proud 
waves be stayed." 



44 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

Nature has said it. The Turk cannot gov- 
ern Egypt and Arabia, and Kurdistan, as he 
governs Thrace ; nor has he the same domin- 
ion in Crimea and Algiers, which he has at 

sBrusa and Smyrna. Despotism itself is 
obliged to truck and huckster. The Sultan 
gets such obedience as he can. He governs 
with a loose rein, that he may govern at all ; 
and the whole of the force and vigor of his 

10 authority in his centre is derived from a 
prudent relaxation in all his borders. Spain 
in her provinces is, perhaps, not so well 
obeyed as you are in yours. She complies, 
too ; she submits ; she watches times. This 

15 is the immutable condition, the external law, 
of extensive and detached empire. 

Then, Sir, from these six capital sources; 
of descent ; of form of government ; of relig- 
ion in the northern provinces ; of manners in 

20 the southern; of education; of the remote- 
ness of situation from the first mover of gov- 
ernment ; from all these causes a fierce spirit 
of liberty has grown up. It has grown with 
the growth of the people in your colonies, 

as and increased with the increase of their 

2. Kurdistan, or Curdistan, in Asia, N. W. of Persia. 
5. Brum, in N. W. Asia Minor. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 45 

wealth ; a spirit, that unhappily meeting 
with an exercise of power in England, which, 
however lawful, is not reconcilable to any 
idea of liberty, much less with theirs, has 
kindled this flame that is ready to consume 5 
us. 

I do not mean to commend either the 
spirit in this excess or the moral causes 
which produce it. Perhaps a more smooth 
and accommodating spirit of freedom in them 10 
would be more acceptable to us. Perhaps 
ideas of liberty might be desired more recon- 
cilable with an arbitrary and boundless auth- 
ority. Perhaps we might wish the colonists 
to be persuaded, that their liberty is more 15 
secure when held in trust for them by us as 
their guardians during a perpetual minority, 
than with any part of it in their own hands. 
The question is, not whether their spirit 
deserves praise or blame, but — what, in the 20 
name of God, shall we do with it? You have 
before you the object, such as it is with all its 
glories, with all its imperfections on its head. 
You see the magnitude ; the importance ; the 
temper; the habits; the disorders. By all 25 
these considerations we are strongly urged 
to determine something concerning it. We 



46 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

are called upon to fix some rule and line for 
our future conduct which may give a little 
stability to our politics, and prevent the 
return of such unhappy deliberations as the 
5 present. Every such return will bring 
the matter before us in a still more un- 
tractable form. For, what astonishing and 
incredible things have we not seen already ! 
What monsters have not been generated 
10 from this unnatural contention ! Whilst 
every principle of authority and resistance 
has been pushed, upon both sides, as far 
as it would go, there is nothing so solid 
and certain, either in reasoning or in prac- 
tice, that has not been shaken. Until very 
lately all authority in America seemed to be 
nothing but an emanation from yours. Even 
the popular part of the colony constitution 
derived all its activity, and its first vital 
20 movement, from the pleasure of the crown. 
We thought, Sir, that the utmost which the 
discontented colonists could do, was to 
disturb authority: we never dreamt they 
could of themselves supply it ; knowing in 
25 general what an operose business it is to 
establish a government absolutely new. But 

25. operose, difficult. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 47 

having, for our purposes in this contention, 
resolved, that none but an obedient assembly- 
should sit ; the humors of the people there, 
finding all passage through the legal chan- 
nels stopped, with great violence broke out 5 
another way. Some provinces have tried 
their experiment, as we have tried ours ; and 
theirs has succeeded. They have formed a 
government sufficient for its purposes, with- 
out the bustle of a revolution, or the trouble- 10 
some formality of an election. Evident 
necessity, and tacit consent, have done the 
business in an instant. So well they have 
done it, that Lord Dunmore (the account is 
among the fragments on your table) tells is 
you, that the new institution is infinitely 
better obeyed than the ancient government 
ever was in its most fortunate periods. 
Obedience is what makes government, and 
not the names by which it is called ; not the & 
name of the governor, as formerly, or com- 
mittee, as at present. This new government 
has originated directly from the people ; and 
was not transmitted through any of the 
ordinary artificial media of a positive con- 25 

14. Lord Dunmore, Earl of Dunmore, (1732-1809), Governor of New 
York and afterwards of Virginia. He twice dissolved the Virginia 
assembly . 



48 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

stitution. It was not a manufacture ready 
formed, and transmitted to them in that 
condition from England. The evil arising 
from hence is this ; that the colonists having 
5 once found the possibility of enjoying the 
advantages of order in the midst of a struggle 
for liberty, such struggles will not hencefor- 
ward seem so terrible to the settled and 
sober part of mankind as they had appeared 
10 before the trial. 

Pursuing the same plan of punishing by 
the denial of the exercise of government to 
still greater lengths, we wholly abrogated the 
ancient government of Massachusetts. We 
15 were confident that the first feeling if not 
the very prospect of anarchy, would instantly 
enforce a complete submission. The experi- 
ment was tried. A new, strange, unexpected 
face of things appeared. Anarchy is found 
20 tolerable. A vast province has now sub- 
sisted, and subsisted in a considerable degree 
of health and vigor, for near a twelvemonth, 
without governor, without public council, 
without judges, without executive magis- 
trates. How long it will continue in this 

14. Massachusetts. In May, 1774, an act was passed by the English 
Parliament remodelling the Charter of the Colony, and much abridging 
the political rights hitherto exercised by the people;— the whole exec- 
utive power was placed in the hands of the royal governor. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 49 

state, or what may arise out of this unheard- 
of situation, how can the wisest of us con T 
jecture? Our late experience has taught 
us that many of those fundamental prin- 
ciples, formerly believed infallible, are either & 
not of the importance they were imagined to 
be ; or that we have not at all adverted to 
some other far more important and far more 
powerful principles, which entirely overrule 
those we had considered as omnipotent. Iio 
am much against any further, experiments, 
which tend to put to the proof any more of 
these allowed opinions, which contribute so 
much to the public tranquility. In effect, 
we suffer as much at home by this loosening 15 
of all ties, and this concussion of all estab- 
lished opinions, as we do abroad. For, in 
order to prove that the Americans have no 
right to their liberties, we are every day 
endeavoring to subvert the maxims which 20 
preserve the whole spirit of our own. To 
prove that the Americans ought not to 
be free, we are obliged to depreciate the 
value of freedom itself; and we never seem 
to gain a paltry advantage over them in 26 
debate, without attacking some of those 
principles, or deriding some of th se feel- 



50 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

ings for which our ancestors have shed their 
blood. 

But, Sir, in wishing to put an end to per- 
nicious experiments, I do not mean to pre- 
clude the fullest inquiry. Far from it. Far 
from deciding on a sudden or partial view, I 
would patiently go round and round the sub- 
ject, and survey it minutely in every possible 
aspect. Sir, if I were capable of engaging 
10 you to an equal attention, I would state, that, 
as far as I am capable of discerning, there are 
but three ways of proceeding relative to this 
stubborn spirit, which prevails in your col- 
onies, and disturbs your government. These 
ware — To change that spirit, as inconvenient, 
by removing the causes. To prosecute it as 
criminal. Or, to comply with it as neces- 
sary. I would not be guilty of an imper- 
fect enumeration ; I can think of but these 
20 three. Another has indeed been started, 
that of giving up the colonies ; but it met 
so slight a reception, that I do not think 
myself obliged to dwell a great while upon 
it. It is nothing but a little sally of anger, 
25 like the frowardness of peevish children, 
who, when they cannot get all they would 
have, are resolved to take nothing. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 51 

The first of these plans, to change the 
spirit as inconvenient, by removing the 
causes, I think is the most like a systematic 
proceeding. It is radical in its principle ; 
but it is attended with great difficulties, somes 
of them little short, as I conceive, of impos- 
sibilities. This will appear by examining 
into the plans which have been proposed.^ 

As the growing population in the colonies 
is evidently one cause of their resistance, it io 
was last session mentioned in both Houses, 
by men of weight, and received not without 
applause, that in order to check this evil, it 
would be proper for the crown to make no 
further grants of land. But to this scheme^ 
there are two objections. The first, that there 
is already so much unsettled land in private 
hands, as to afford room for an immense 
future population, although the crown not 
only withheld its grants, but annihilated its 20 
soil. If this be the case, then the only effect 
of this avarice of desolation, this hoarding of 
a royal wilderness, would be to raise the 
value of the possessions in the hands of 
the great private monopolists, without any 25 
adequate check to the growing and alarming- 
mischief of population. 



52 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

But if you stopped your grants, what 
would be the consequence? The people 
would occupy without grants. They have 
already so occupied in many places. You 

* cannot station garrisons in every part of 
these deserts. If you drive the people from 
one place, they will carry on their annual til- 
lage, and remove with their flocks and herds 
to another. Many of the people in the back 

10 settlements are already little attached to par- 
ticular situations. Already they have topped 
the Appalachian mountains. From thence 
they behold before them an immense plain, 
one vast, rich, level meadow; a square of 

15 five hundred miles. Over this they would 
wander without a possibility of restraint ; 
they would change their manners with the 
habits of their life ; would soon forget a 
government by which they were disowned ; 

20 would become hordes of English Tartars; 
and pouring down upon your unfortified 
frontiers a fierce and irresistible cavalry, 
become masters of your governors and your 
counsellors, your collectors and comptrollers, 

25 and of all the slaves that adhered to them. 
Such would, and, in no long time, must be, 

20. Tartars, a nomad race of Mongolian origin that overran Asia 
from China to the confines of Russia. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 53 

the effect of attempting to forbid as a crime, 
and to suppress as an evil, the command and 
blessing of Providence, "Increase and mul- ^ 
tiply." Such would be the happy result of 
an endeavor to keep as a lair of wild beasts, 5 
that earth, which God, bj^ an express charter, 
has given to the children of men. Far dif- 
ferent, and surely much wiser, has been our 
policy hitherto. Hitherto we have invited 
our people, by every kind of bounty, to fixed 10 
establishments. We have invited the hus- 
bandman to look to authority for his title. 
We have taught him piously to believe in 
the mysterious virtue of wax and parch- 
ment. We have thrown each tract of land, 16 
as it was peopled, into districts; that the 
ruling power should never be wholly out of 
sight. We have settled all we could ; and 
we have carefully attended every settlement 
with government. ^ 

Adhering, Sir, as I do, to this policy, as 
well as for the reasons I have just given, I 
think this new project of hedging-in popula- 
tion to be neither prudent nor practicable. 

To impoverish the colonies in general, 2 * 5 
and in particular to arrest the noble course 

14. parchment, i. e., legal forms and documents. 



54 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

of their marine enterprises, would be a more 
easy task. I freely confess it. We have 
shown a disposition to a system of this kind ; 
a disposition even to continue the restraint 

5 after the offence; looking on ourselves as 
rivals to our colonies, and persuaded that 
of course we must gain all that they shall 
lose. Much mischief we may certainly do. 
The power inadequate to all other things is 

10 often more than sufficient for this. I do not 
look on the direct and immediate power of 
the colonies to resist our violence as very 
formidable. In this, however, I may be mis- 
taken. But when I consider, that we have 

15 colonies for no purpose but to be serviceable 
to us, it seems to my poor understanding a 
little preposterous, to make them unservice- 
able, in order to keep them obedient. It is, 
in truth, nothing more than the old, and, 

2( > as I thought, exploded problem of tyranny, 
which proposes to beggar its subjects into 
submission. But remember, when you have 
completed your system of impoverishment, 
that nature still proceeds in her ordinary 

25 course; that discontent will increase with 
misery ; and that there are critical moments 
in the fortune of all states, when they who 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 55 

are too weak to contribute to your pros- 
perity, may be strong enough to complete 
your ruin. Spoliatis anna super sunt. (The 
plundered ne'er want arms.) 

The temper and character which prevail 5 
in our colonies are, I am afraid, unalterable 
by any human art. We cannot, I fear, 
falsify, the pedigree of this fierce people, and 
persuade them that they are not sprung from 
a nation in whose veins the blood of freedom 10 
circulates. The language in which they 
would hear you tell them this tale would 
detect the imposition ; your speech would 
betray you. An Englishman is the unfittest 
person on earth to argue another Englishman 15 
into slavery. 

I think it is nearly as little in our power to 
change their republican religion, as their free 
descent; or to substitute the Roman Catholic, 
as a penalty ; or the Church of England, as 20 
an improvement. The mode of inquisition 
and dragooning is going out of fashion in the 
Old World ; and I should not confide much 
to their efficacy in the New. The education 
of the Americans is also on the same unalter- 25 
able bottom with their religion. You cannot 

22. dragooning, quartering of soldiers on a community, hence any 
violent measures. 



56 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

persuade them to burn their books of curious 
science ; to banish their lawyers from their 
courts of laws ; or to quench the lights of 
their assemblies, by refusing to choose those 
6 persons who are best read in their privileges. 
It would be no less impracticable to think of 
wholly annihilating the popular assemblies, 
in which these lawyers sit. The army by 
which we must govern in their place, would 
) n be far more chargeable to us ; not quite so 
effectual; and perhaps, in the end, full as 
difficult to be kept in obedience. 

With regard to the high aristocratic spirit 

of Virginia and the Southern colonies, it has 

15 been proposed, I know, to reduce it, by 

declaring a general enfranchisement of their 

slaves. This project has had its advocates 

and panegyrists ; yet I never could argue 

myself into any opinion of it. Slaves are 

20 often much attached to their masters. A 

general wild offer of liberty would not always 

be accepted. History furnishes few instances 

of it. It is sometimes as hard to persuade 

slaves to be free as it is to compel freemen 

25 to be slaves; and in this inauspicious 

scheme, we should have both these pleasing 

tasks on our hands at once. But when we 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 57 

talk of enfranchisement, do we not perceive 
that the American master may enfranchise 
too ; and arm servile hands in defence of 
freedom ? A measure to which other people 
have had recourse more than once, and not 5 
without success, in a desperate situation of 
their affairs. 

Slaves as these unfortunate black people 
are, and dull as all men are from slavery, must 
they not a little suspect the offer of freedom 10 
from that very nation which has sold them to 
their present masters? from that nation, one 
of whose causes of quarrel with those masters 
is their refusal to deal any more in that 
inhuman traffic? An offer of freedom fromis 
England would come rather oddly, shipped 
to them in an African vessel, which is refused 
an entry into the ports of Virginia and 
Carolina, with a cargo of three hundred 
Angola negroes. It would be curious to see 20 
the Guinea captain attempting at the same 
instant to publish his proclamation of liberty, 
and to advertise his sale of slaves. 

But let us suppose all these moral difficul- 
ties got over. The ocean remains. You 25 

18. entry, several of the colonies had made attempts to stop the 
slave trade. 

20. Angola, a trading station on the west coast of Africa. 



58 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

cannot pump this dry; and as long as it 
continues in its present bed, so long all 
the causes which weaken authorit}^ by 
distance will continue. r? Ye gods, anni- 
hilate but space and time, and make two 
lovers happy !"— was a pious and passionate 
prayer; but just as reasonable, as many of 
the serious wishes of very grave and solemn 
politicians. 
10 If then, Sir, it seems almost desperate to 
think of any alterative course, for changing 
the moral causes (and not quite easy to 
remove the natural) which produce preju- 
dices irreconcilable to the late exercise of 
15 our authority; but that the spirit infallibly 
will continue; and, continuing, will produce 
such effects as now embarrass us, the 
second mode under consideration is, to 
prosecute that spirit in its overt acts, as 
25 criminal. 

At this proposition I must pause a moment. 
The thing seems a great deal too big for my 
ideas of jurisprudence. It should seem to 
my way of conceiving such matters, that 
25 there is a very wide difference in reason 
and policy, between the mode of proceed- 
ing on the irregular conduct of scattered 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 59 

individuals, or even of bands of men, who 
disturb order within the state, and the civil 
dissensions which may, from time to time, 
on great questions, agitate the several com- 
munities which compose a great empire. It 5 
looks to me to be narrow and pedantic, to 
apply the ordinary ideas of criminal justice 
to this great public contest. I do not know 
the method of drawing up an indictment 
against a whole people. I cannot insult and 1( > 
ridicule the feelings of millions of my fellow- 
creatures, as Sir Edward Coke insulted one 
excellent individual (Sir Walter Raleigh) at 
the bar. I hope I am not ripe to pass sen- 
tence on the gravest public bodies, intrusted i* 
with magistracies of great authority and dig- 
nity, and charged with the safety of their fel- 
low-citizens, upon the very same title that I 
am. I really think, that for wise men this 
is not judicious ; for sober men, not decent ;2o 
for minds tinctured with humanity, not mild 
and merciful. 

Perhaps, Sir, I am mistaken in my idea 



12. Sir Edward Coke, a noted lawyer and Attorney General for the 
Crown In the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh he much abused the defend- 
ant. Goodrich quotes t e following episode from the Statu Trials, — 
" Coke — I will prove you the most notorious traitor that ever came to 
the bar. Raleigh — Your words cannot condemn me; myinnocency is 
my defence. Coke — Thou art a monster. Thou hast an English face 
hut a Spanish heart." 



60 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

of an empire, as distinguished from a single 

. state or kingdom. But my idea of it is this : 
that an empire is the aggregate of many 
states under one common head ; whether this 

5 head be a monarch, or a presiding republic. 
It does, in such constitutions, frequently 
happen (and nothing but the dismal, cold, 
dead uniformity of servitude can prevent 
its happening) that the subordinate parts 

10 have many local privileges and immunities. 
Between these privileges and the supreme 
common authority the line may be extremely 
nice. Of course disputes, often, too, very 
bitter disputes, and much ill blood, will 

15 arise. But though every privilege is an 
exemption (in the case) from the ordinary 
exercise of the supreme authority, it is no 
denial of it. The claim of a privilege seems 
rather, ex vi termini, (by the meaning of the 

wterm) to imply a superior power. For to 
talk of the privileges of a state, or of a 
person, who has no superior, is hardly any 
better than speaking nonsense. Now, in 
such unfortunate quarrels among the com- 

rcponent parts of a great political union of 
communities, I can scarcely conceive any- 
thing more completely imprudent, than for 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 61 

the head of the empire to insist, that, if any 
privilege is pleaded against his will, or his 
acts, his whole authority is denied ; instantly 
to proclaim rebellion, to beat to arms, and to 
put the offending provinces under the ban. 5 
Will not this, Sir, very soon teach the prov- 
inces to make no distinctions on their part? 
Will it not teach them that the government, 
against which a claim of liberty is tanta- 
mount to high treason, is a government toio 
which submission is equivalent to slavery? 
It may not always be quite convenient to 
impress dependent communities with such 
an idea. 

We are indeed, in all disputes with the 15 
colonies, by the necessity of things, the 
judge. It is true, Sir. But I confess, that 
the character of judge in my own cause is 
a thing that frightens me. Instead of filling 
me with pride, I am exceedingly humbled by 20 
it. I cannot proceed with a stern, assured, 
judicial confidence, until I find myself in 
something more like a judicial character. I 
must have these hesitations as long as I am 
compelled to recollect, that, in my little read- 25 
ing upon such contests as these, the sense of 
mankind has, at least, as often decided against 



62 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

the superior as the subordinate power. Sir, 
let me add, too, that the opinion of my having 
some abstract right in my favor, would not 
put me much at my ease in passing sentence ; 

6 unless I could be sure, that there were no 
rights which, in their exercise under certain 
circumstances, were not the most odious of 
all wrongs, and the most vexatious of all 
injustice. Sir, these considerations have 

10 great weight with me, when I find things 
so circumstanced, that I see the same party, 
at once a civil litigant against me in point of 
right, and a culprit before me ; while I sit 
as a criminal judge, on acts of his, whose 

is moral quality is to be decided upon the 
merits of that very litigation. Men are 
every now and then put, by the complexity 
of human affairs, into strange situations ; but 
justice is the same, let the judge be in what 

20 situation he will. 

There is, Sir, also a circumstance which 
convinces me, that this mode of criminal 
proceeding is not (at least in the present 
stage of our contest) altogether expedient ; 

25 which is nothing less than the conduct of 
those very persons who have seemed to 
adopt that mode, by lately declaring a 






CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 63 

rebellion in Massachusetts Bay, as they had 
formerly addressed to have traitors brought 
hither, under an act of Henry the Eighth, 
for trial. For though rebellion is declared, 
it is not proceeded against as such ; nor have 5 
any steps been taken towards the apprehen- 
sion or conviction of any individual offender, 
either on our late or our former address ; but 
modes of public coercion have been adopted, 
and such as have much more resemblance w 
to a sort of qualified hostility towards an 
independent power than the punishment of 
rebellious subjects. All this seems rather 
inconsistent ; but it shows how difficult it 
is to apply these juridical ideas to ouris 
present case. 

In this situation, let us seriously and 
coolly ponder. What is it we have got by 
all our menaces, which have been many and 
ferocious? What advantage have we derived 20 
from the penal laws we have passed, and 
which, for the time, have been severe and 
numerous? What advances have we made 
towards our object, by the sending of a 
force, which, by land and sea, is no con-2& 

2. addressed, requested. 

3. Henry the Eighth, King of England (1509 to 1547). 



64 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

temptible strength? Has the disorder 
abated? Nothing less. — When I see things 
in this situation, after such confident hopes, 
bold promises, and active exertions, I cannot, 

*for my life, avoid a suspicion, that the plan 
itself is not correctly right. 

If then the removal of the causes of this 
spirit of American liberty be, for the greater 
part, or rather entirely, impracticable ; if the 

10 ideas of criminal process be inapplicable, or 
if applicable, are in the highest degree inex- 
pedient ; what way yet remains? No way is 
open, but the third and last — to comply 
with the American spirit as necessary ; or, if 

15 you please, to submit to it as a necessary evil. 
If we adopt this mode ; if we mean to con- 
ciliate and concede ; let us see of what nature 
the concession ought to be : to ascertain the 
nature of our concession, we must look at 

2 o their complaint. The colonies complain, 
that they have not the characteristic mark 
and seal of British freedom. They com- 
plain, that they are taxed in a parliament 
in which they are not represented. If you 

25 mean to satisfy them at all, you must satisfy 

2. Nothing less, Nothing has abated less. 
6. correctly, exactly. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 65 

them with regard to this complaint. If you 
mean to please any people, you must give 
them the boon which they ask ; not what you 
may think better for them, but of a kind 
totally different. Such an act may be a wise 5 
regulation, but it is no concession : whereas 
our present theme is the mode of giving 
satisfaction. 

Sir, I think you must perceive, that I 
am resolved this day to have nothing at all 10 
to do with the question of the right of taxa- 
tion. Some gentlemen startle — -but it is 
true ; I put it totally out of the question. 
It is less than nothing in my consideration. 
I do not indeed wonder, nor will you, Sir, 1§ 
that gentlemen of profound learning are fond 
of displaying it on this profound subject* 
But my consideration is narrow^, confined, 
and wholly limited to the policy of the 
question. I do not examine, whether the 20 
giving away a man's money be a power 
excepted and reserved out of the general 
trust of government ; and how far all man- 
kind, in all forms of polity, are entitled to 
an exercise of that right by the charter of 25 
nature. Or whether, on the contrary, 
a right of taxation is necessarily involved 



66 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

in the general principle of legislation, and 
inseparable from the ordinary supreme 
power. These are deep questions, where 
great names militate against each other ; 

5 where reason is perplexed ; and an appeal 
to authorities only thickens the confusion. 
For high and reverend authorities lift up 
their heads on both sides ; and there is no 
sure footing in the middle. This point 

10 is the great 

Serbqnian bog, 
Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old, 
Where armies whole have sunk. 

I do not intend to be overwhelmed in that 
15 bog, though in such respectable company. 
The question with me is, not whether you 
have a right to render your people miser- 
able ; but whether it is not your interest 
to make them happy. It is not, what a 
v 20 lawyer tells me I may do ; but what human- 
ity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to 
do. Is a politic act the worse for being a 
generous one? Is no concession proper, 
but that which is made from your want of 
25 right to keep what you grant? Or does it 
lessen the grace or dignity of relaxing in 

11-13. sunk, see " Paradise Lost.'' Book II, lines 592-593. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 0/ 

the exercise of an odious claim, because 
you have your evidence-room full of titles, 
and your magazines stuffed with arms to 
enforce them? What signify all those titles, 
and all those arms? Of what avail are they, 5 
when the reason of the thing tells me that 
the assertion of my title is the loss of my 
suit; and that I could do nothing but wound 
myself by the use of my own weapons? 

Such is steadfastly my opinion of the 10 
absolute necessity of keeping up the con- 
cord of this empire by a unity of spirit, 
though in a diversity of operations, that, if 
'I were sure the colonists had, at their leav- 
ing this country, sealed a regular compact of 15 
servitude; that /they had solemnly abjured 
all the rights of citizens ; that they had made 
a vow to renounce all ideas of liberty for 
them and their posterity to all generations ; 
yet I should hold myself obliged to conform 20 
to the temper I found universally prevalent 
in my own day, and to govern two millions 
of men, impatient of servitude, on the prin- 
ciples of freedom. I am not determining 
a point of law ; I am restoring tranquility : ^ 
and the general character and situation of a 
people must determine what sort of govern- 



68 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

ment is fitted for them. That point nothing 
else can or ought to determine. 

My idea, therefore, without considering 
whether we yield as a matter of right, or 

5 grant as matter of favor, is to admit the 
people of our colonies into an interest in the 
constitution; and, by recording that admis- 
sion in the journals of parliament, to give 
them jxs strong an assurance as the nature of 

i°the thing will admit, that we mean forever 
to adhere to that solemn declaration of 
systematic indulgence. 

Some years ago, the repeal of a revenue 
act, upon its understood principle, might* 

is have served to show, that we intended an 
unconditional abatement of the exercise 
of a taxing power. Such a measure was 
then sufficient to remove all suspicion, and 
to give perfect content. But unfortunate 

20 events, since that time, may make something 
further necessary ; and not more necessary 
for the satisfaction of the colonies, than for 
the dignity and consistency of our own 
future proceedings. 

35 I have taken a very incorrect measure of 
the disposition of the House, if this proposal 
in itself would be received with dislike. I 







CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 69 

think. Sir, we have few American financiers. 
But our misfortune is, we are too acute ; we 
are too exquisite in our conjectures of the 
future, for men oppressed with such great 
and present evils. The more moderate & 
among the opposers of parliamentary con- 
cession freely confess, that they hope no 
good from taxation ; but they apprehend the 
colonists have further views ; and if this 
point were conceded, they would instantly 10 
attack the trade laws. These gentlemen are 
convinced, that this was the intention from 
the beginning ; and the quarrel of the Ameri- 
cans with taxation was no more than a cloak 
and cover to this design. Such has been the 15 
language even of a gentleman of real modera- 
tion, and of a natural temper well adjusted 
to fair and equal government. I am, how- 
ever, Sir, not a little surprised at this kind 
of discourse, whenever I hear it; and I am 20 
the more surprised, on account of the argu- 
ments which I constantly find in company 
with it, and which are often urged from the 
same mouths, and on the same day. 

1. financiers, i. e., financiers acquainted with America. 
3- exquisite, over-sensitive, over-anxious. 
16. gentleman, George Rice (1742-1779) M. P. 



70 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

For instance, when we allege, that it is 
against reason to tax a people under so 
many restraints in trade as the Americans, 
the noble lord in the blue ribbon shall tell 

s you, that the restraints on trade are futile 
and useless; of no advantage to us, and of 
no burthen to those on whom they are 
imposed ; that the trade to America is not 
secured by the acts of navigation, but by the 

10 natural and irrisistible advantage of a com- 
mercial preference. 

Such is the merit of the trade laws in this 
posture of the debate. But when strong 
internal circumstances are urged against the 

15 taxes ; when the scheme is dissected ; when 
experience and the nature of things are 
brought to prove, and do prove, the utter 
impossibility of obtaining an effective rev- 
enue from the colonies, when these things 

20 are pressed, or rather press themselves, so as 
to drive the advocates of colony taxes to a 
clear admission of the futility of the scheme ; 
then, Sir, the sleeping trade laws revive 
from their trance ; and this useless taxation 

25 is to be kept sacred, not for its own sake, 

9. navigation, the Navigation Act of 1660 required most colonial 
exports to be shipped to England or an English Colony, and in Ameri- 
can or English vessels. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 71 

but as a counter-guard and security of the 
laws of trade. 

Then, Sir, you keep up the revenue laws 
which are mischievous, in order to preserve 
trade laws that are useless. Such is the* 
wisdom of our plan in both its members. 
They are separately given up as of no value ; 
and yet one is always to be defended for the 
sake of the other. But T cannot agree with 
the noble lord, nor with the pamphlet fronno 
whence he seems to have borrowed these 
ideas, concerning the inutility of the trade 
laws. For, without idolizing them, I am 
sure they are still in many ways, of great use 
to us : and in former times they have been of & 
the greatest. They do confine, and they do 
greatly narrow, the market for the Ameri- 
cans. But my perfect conviction of this 
does not help me in the least to discern how 
the revenue laws form any security whatso-20 
ever to the commercial regulations ; or that 
these commercial regulations are the true 
ground of the quarrel ; or that the giving 
waj r , in any one instance of authority, is to 
lose all that may remain unconceded. 25 

10. pamphlet, a pamphlet written by Dr. Tucker, (1711-1799) Dean of 
Gloncester, advocating the granting of American Independence in the 
Interest of trade. 



72 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

One fact is .clear and indisputable. ' The 
public and avowed origin of this quarrel was 
on taxation. This quarrel has indeed 
brought on new disputes on new questions ; 
5 but certainly the least bitter, and the fewests 
of all 5 on the trade laws. To judge which of 
the two be the real, radical cause of quarrel, 
we have to see whether the commercial dis- 
pute did, in order of time, precede the 

10 dispute on taxation? There is not a shadow 
of evidence for it. Next, to enable us to 
judge whether at this moment a dislike to the 
trade laws be the real cause of quarrel, it is 
absolutely necessary to put the taxes out of 

15 the question by a repeal. See how the 
Americans act in this position, and then 
you will be able to discern correctly what 
is the true . object of the controversy, or 
whether any controversy at all will remain. 

20 Unless you consent to remove this cause of 
difference, it is impossible, with decency 
to assert that the dispute is not upon what it 
is avowed to be. And I would, Sir, recom- 
mend to your serious consideration, whether 

25 it be prudent to form a rule for punishing 
people, not on their own acts, but on your 
conjectures ? Surely it is preposterous at the 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 73 

very best. It is not justifying your anger 
by their misconduct ; but it is converting 
your ill-will into their delinquency. 

But the colonies will go further.— Alas ! 
alas ! when will this speculating against facts 
and reason end? — what will quiet these 
panic fears which we entertain of the hostile 
effect of a conciliatory conduct? Is it true, 
that no case can exist, in which it is proper 
for the sovereign to accede to the desires of 10 
his discontented subjects ? Is there anything 
peculiar in this case, to make a rule for 
itself? Is all authority of course lost, when 
it is not pushed to the extreme? Is it a 
certain maxim, that the fewer causes of dis-is 
satisfaction are left by government, the more 
the subject will be inclined to resist and 
rebel ? 

All these objections being in fact no more 
than suspicions, conjectures, divinations, 20 
formed in defiance of fact and experience; 
they did not, Sir, discourage me from enter- 
taining the idea of a conciliatory concession, 
founded on the principles which I have just 
stated. 25 

In forming a plan for this purpose, I 
endeavored to put myself in that frame of 



74 conciliation' with America, 

mind which was the most natural, and the 
most reasonable ; and which was certainly 
the most probable means of securing me 
from all error. I set out with a perfect 
6 distrust of my own abilities ; a total renun- 
ciation of every speculation of my own ; and 
with a profound reverence for the wisdom of 
our ancestors, who have left us the inheri- 
tance of so happy a constitution, and so flour- 
dishing an empire, and what is a thousand 
times more valuable, the treasury of the 
maxims and principles which formed the 
one, and obtained the other. 

During the reigns of the kings of Spain 
16 of the Austrian family, whenever they were 
at a loss in the Spanish councils, it was com- 
mon for their statesmen to say, that they 
ought to consult the genius of Philip the 
Second. The' genius of Philip the Second 
20 might mislead them ; and the issue of their 
affairs showed, that they had not chosen the 
most perfect standard. But, Sir, I am sure 
that I shall not be misled, when, in a case of 
constitutional difficulty, I consult the genius 
26 of the English constitution. Consulting at 

15. Austrian family, descendants of Charles I. of Spain. 
19. Philip the Second, King of Spain 1556 to 159S. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 75 

that oracle (it was with all due humility and 
piety) I found four capital examples in a 
similar case before me ; those of Ireland. 
Wales, Chester, and Durham. 

Ireland, before the English conquest, 5 
though never governed by a despotic power, 
had no parliament. How far the English 
parliament itself was at that time modelled 
according to the present form, is disputed 
among antiquarians. But we have all the 1 * 
reason in the world to be assured that a form 
of parliament, such as England then enjoyed, 
she instantly communicated to Ireland ; and 
we are equally sure that almost every suc- 
cessive improvement in constitutional liberty, 1§ 
as fast as it was made here, was transmitted 
thither. The feudal baronage, and the feudal 
knighthood, the roots of our primitive con- 
stitution, were early transplanted into that 
soil ; and grew and nourished there. Magna 20 
Charta, if it did not give us originally the 
House of Commons, gave us at least a House 
of Commons of weight and consequence. But 
your ancestors did not churlishly sit down 
alone to the feast of Magna Charta. Ireland'** 
was made immediately a partaker. This 

25. Magna Charta, great charter of English Liberty granted by King 
John in 12 i5. 



76 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

benefit of English laws and liberties, I con- 
fess, was not at first extended to all Ireland. 
Mark the consequence. English authority 
and English liberties had exactly the same 

6 boundaries. Your standard could never be 
advanced an inch before your privileges. Sir 
John Davis shows beyond a doubt, that the 
refusal of a general communication of these 
rights was the true cause why Ireland was 

10 five hundred years in subduing ; and after 
the vain projects of a military government, 
attempted in the reign of Queen Elizabeth^ 
it was soon discovered, that nothing could 
make that country English, in civility and 

15 allegiance, but your laws and your forms of 
legislature. It was not English arms, but 
the English constitution, that conquered Ire- 
land. From that time, Ireland has ever had 
a general parliament, as she had before a 

so partial parliament. You changed the people ; 
you altered the religion ; but you never 
touched the form or the vital substance of 
free government in that kingdom. You 
deposed kings ; you restored them ; you 

3. English authority. English settlers in Ireland after the invasion 
of Stroiigbovv kept themselves, within certain limits, distinct from 
the natives called the "Pale." They enjoyed English law while the 
natives were denied it. — Phofessor Goodrich. 

7. Sir John Davis, an anthor and statesman (1570-1626) was Attorney 
General for Ireland, 1606-1619. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 77 

altered the succession to theirs, as well as 
to your own crown ; but you never altered 
their constitution ; the principle of which 
was respected by usurpation ; restored with 
the restoration of monarchy, and established, 5 
I trust, for ever, by the glorious Revolution. 
This has made Ireland the great and flourish- 
ing kingdom that it is ; and from a disgrace 
and a burthen intolerable to this nation, has 
rendered her a principal part of our strength 10 
and ornament. This country cannot be said 
to have ever formally taxed her. The irreg- 
ular things done in the confusion of mighty 
troubles, and on the hinge of great revolu- 
tions, even if all were done that is said to 15 
have been done, form no example. If they 
have any effect in argument, they make an 
exception to prove the rule. None of your 
own liberties could stand a moment if the 
casual deviations from them, at such times, 20 
were suffered to be used as proofs of their 
nullity. By the lucrative amount of such 
casual breaches in the constitution, judge 
what the stated and fixed rule of supply 
has been in that kingdom. Your Irish 25 
pensioners would starve if they had no 

6. Revolution, the English Revolution of 1688-89. 



78 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

other fund to live on than taxes granted 
by English authority. Turn your eyes to 
those popular grants from whence all your 
great supplies are come ; and learn to re- 

Aspect that only source of public wealth in 
the British empire. 

My next example is Wales. This country 
was said to be reduced by Henry the Third. 
It was said more truly to be so by Edward 

10 the First. But though then conquered, it 
was not looked upon as any part of the realm 
of England. Its old constitution, whatever 
that might have been, was destroyed; and 
no good one was substituted in its place. 

is The care of that tract was put into the hands 
of lords marchers — a form of government of 
a very singular kind ; a strange heterogene- 
ous monster, something between hostility and 
government ; perhaps it has a sort of resem- 

20 blance, according to the modes of those times, 
to that of commander-in-chief at present, to 
whom all civil power is granted as secondary. 
The manners of the Welsh nation followed 
the genius of the government ; the people 

8. Henry the Third, King of England, 1216 to 1272. 

9. Edward the First, King of England, 1272-1307. 

16. lord* marches, feudal officers and adventurers who controlled 
the border lands of Wales, and were supposed to keep order in them. 
They used them chiefly for their own ends. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 79 

were ferocious, restive, savage, and unculti- 
vated ; sometimes composed, never pacified. 
Wales, within itself, was in perpetual dis- 
order : and it kept the frontier of England 
in perpetual alarm. Benefits from it to the 5 
state there were none. Wales was only 
known to England by incursion and invasion. 
Sir, during that state of things, parliament 
was not idle. They attempted to subdue the 
fierce spirit of the Welsh by all sorts of rigor- 10 
ous laws. They prohibited by statute the 
sending all sorts of arms into Wales, as you 
prohibit by proclamation (with something 
more of doubt on the legality) the sending 
arms to America. They disarmed the Welsh* 5 
by statute, as you attempted (but still with 
more question on the legality) to disarm New 
England by an instruction. They made an 
act to drag; offenders from Wales into Eno- 
land for trial, as you have done (but with 20 
more hardship) with regard to America. 
By another act, where one of the parties was 
an Englishman, they ordained, that his trial 
should be always by English. They made 
acts to restrain trade, as you do: and they 25 
prevented the Welsh from the use of fairs and 

18. instruction, an instruction to General Gage. 



80 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

markets, as you do the Americans from fish- 
eries and foreign ports. In short, when the 
statute book was not quite so much swelled 
as it is now, you find no less than fifteen acts 

5 of penal regulation on the subject of Wales. 

Here we rub our hands — - A fine body of 

precedents for the authority of parliament 

and the use of it ! — I admit it fully ; and 

pray add likewise to these precedents, that 

10 all the while, Wales rid this kingdom like an 
incubus; that it was an unprofitable and 
oppressive burthen; and that an Englishman 
travelling in that country could not go six 
yards from the high road without being 

16 murdered. 

The march of the human mind is slow. 
Sir, it was not until after two hundred 
years, discovered, that, by an eternal law, 
Providence had decreed vexation to violence, 

20 and poverty to rapine. Your ancestors did, 
however, at length open their eyes to the ill 
husbandry of injustice. They found that the 
tyranny of a free people could of all tyrannies 
the least be endured ; and that laws made 

25 against a whole nation were not the most 

10. rid, rode. 

11. incubus, nightmare. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 81 

effectual methods of securing its obedience. 
Accordingly, in the twenty-seventh year of 
Henry VIII. the course was entirely altered. 
With a preamble stating the entire and per- 
fect rights of the crown of England, it gave 5 
to the Welsh all the rights and privileges 
of English subjects. A political order was 
established ; the military power gave way to 
the civil ; the marches were turned into coun- 
ties. But that a nation should have a right 10 
to English liberties, and yet no share at all in 
the fundamental security of these liberties — 
the grant of their own property — seemed a 
thing so incongruous, that, eight years after, 
that is, in the thirty-fifth of that reign, a com- 15 
plete and not ill-proportioned representation 
by counties and boroughs was bestowed upon 
Wales, by act of parliament. From that 
moment, as by a charm, the tumults sub- 
sided, obedience was restored, peace, order, 20 
and civilization followed in the train of lib- 
erty. — When the day-star of the English 
constitution had arisen in their hearts, all 
was harmony within and without — 

— Simul alba nautis ** 

Stella refulsit, 
Defluit saxis agitatus humor ; 



82 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

Concidunt venti, fugiuntque nubes, 
Et minax (quod sic voluere) ponto 
Unda recumbit. 

( Soon as gleam 
5 Their stars at sea, 

The lasNd spray trickles from the steep, 
The wind sinks down, the storm-cloud flies, 
The threatening billow on the deep 
Obedient lies.) 

10 The very same year the county palatine 
of Chester received the same relief from its 
oppressions, and the same remedy to its dis- 
orders. Before this time Chester was little 
less distempered than Wales. The inhabi- 
tants, without rights themselves, were the 
fittest to destroy the rights of others ; and 
from thence Richard II. drew the standing 
army of archers, with which for a time he 
oppressed England. The people of Chester 
20 applied to parliament in a petition penned as 
I shall read to you : 

"To the king our sovereign lord, in most 
humble wise shown unto your excellent Maj- 
esty, the inhabitants of your Grace's county 
25 palatine of Chester; That where the said 

10. county "palatine. Counties Palatine were so called because the 
owners of these counties exercised royal rights in their territories. 
They appointed all officers, judges, etc., and could pardon crimes. 

17. Richard II, King of England, 1377-1399. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 83 

county palatine of Chester is and hath been 
always hitherto exempt, excluded and sepa- 
rated out and from your high court of par- 
liament, to have any knights and burgesses 
within the said court ; by reason whereof the 5 
said inhabitants have hitherto sustained mani- 
fold disherisons, losses, and damages, as well 
in their lands, goods, and bodies, as in the 
good, civil, and politic governance and main- 
tenance of the commonwealth of their said 10 
country: (2.) And forasmuch as the said 
inhabitants have always hitherto been bound 
by the acts and statutes made and ordained 
by your said Highness, and your most noble 
progenitors, by authority of the said court, 15 
as far forth as other counties, cities, and 
boroughs have been, that have had their 
knights and burgesses within your said court 
of parliament, and yet have had neither 
knight ne burgess there for the said county 2 ©, 
palatine ; the said inhabitants, for lack 
thereof, have been oftentimes touched and 
grieved with acts and statutes made within 
the said court, as well derogatory unto the 
most ancient jurisdictions, liberties, and 25 

7. disherisons, disinheriting^, deprivations. 
20. ne, nor. 



84 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

privileges of your said county palatine, as 
prejudicial unto the commonwealth, quiet- 
ness, rest, and peace of your Grace's most 
bounden subjects inhabiting within the same." 

fi What did parliament with this audacious 
address? — Eeject it as a libel? Treat it as 
an affront to government? Spurn it is a 
derogation from the rights of legislature? 
Did they toss it over the table? Did they 

10 burn it by the hands of the common hang- 
man? They took the petition of grievance, 
all rugged as it was, without softening or 
temperament, unpurged of the original bit- 
terness and indignation of complaint ; they 

15 made it the very preamble to their act of 
redress ; and consecrated its principle to all 
ages in the sanctuary of legislation. 

Here is my third example. It was attended 
with the success of the two former. Chester, 

20 civilized as well as Wales, has demonstrated 
that freedom, and not servitude, is the cure of 
anarchy; as religion, and not atheism, is the 
true remedy for superstition. Sir, this pat- 
tern of Chester was followed in the reign of 

25 Charles II. with regard to the county pala- 
tine of Durham, which is my fourth example. 

25. Charles II., King of England, 1660-1685. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 85 

This county had long lain out of the pale of 
free legislation. So scrupulously was the 
example of Chester followed, that the style 
of the preamble is nearly the same with that 
of the Chester act; and, without affecting & 
the abstract extent of the authority of 
parliament, it recognizes the equity of not 
suffering any considerable district, in which 
the British subjects may act as a body, to be 
taxed without their own voice in the grant. 10 

Now, if the doctrines of policy contained 
in these preambles, and the force of these 
examples in the acts of parliament, avail 
anything, what can be said against applying 
them with regard to America? Are not the 15 
people of America as much Englishmen as 
the Welsh? The preamble of the act of 
Henry VIII. says, the Welsh speak a lan- 
guage no way resembling that of his Majes- 
ty's English subjects. Are the Americans 20 
not as numerous? If we may trust the 
learned and accurate Judge Barrington's 
account of North Wales, and take that as 
a standard to measure the rest, there is no 
comparison. The people cannot amount to 26 
above 200,000 ; not a tenth part of the num- 

22. Judge Barringtbn, Daines Barrington (1727-1800) . 



86 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

ber in the colonies. Is America in rebellion? 
Wales was hardly ever free from it. Have 
you attempted to govern America by penal 
statutes? You made fifteen for Wales. But 

& your legislative authority is perfect with 
regard to America : was it less perfect in 
Wales, Chester and Durham? But America 
is virtually represented. What! does the 
electric force of virtual representation more 

10 easily pass over the Atlantic, than pervade 
Wales, which lies in your neighborhood; or 
than Chester and Durham, surrounded by 
abundance of representation that is actual 
and palpable? But, Sir, your ancestors 

is thought this sort of virtual representation, 
however ample, to be totally insufficient for 
the freedom of the inhabitants of territories 
that are «o near, and comparatively so incon- 
siderable. How then can I think it sufficient 

20 for those which are infinitely greater, and 
infinitely more remote ? 

You will now, Sir, perhaps imagine, that 
I am on the point of proposing to you a 
scheme for a representation of the colonies 

25 in parliament. Perhaps I might be inclined 
to entertain some such thought ; but a great 
flood stops me in my course. Opposuit 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 87 

natura {Natuve has barred the way) — I can- 
not remove the eternal barriers of the 
creation. The thing, in that mode, I do not 
knoAV to be possible.* As I meddle with no 
theory, I do not absolutely assert the im- 5 
practicability of such a representation. But 
I do not see my way to it ; and those who 
have been more confident have not been 
more successful. However the arm of pub- 
lic benevolence is not shortened : and there 10 
are often several means to the same end. 
What nature has disjoined in one way, wis- 
dom may unite in another. When we cannot 
give the benefit as we would wish, let us not 
refuse it altogether. If we cannot give the 15 
principal, let us find a substitute. But how? 
Where ? What substitute ? 

Fortunately I am not obliged for the ways 
and means of this substitute to tax my own 
unproductive invention. I am not even 20 
obliged to go to the rich treasury of the 
fertile framers of imaginary commonwealths ; 
not to the Republic of Plato ; not to the 
Utopia of More ; not to the Oceana of Har- 

23. Republic of Plato, a treatise on an ideal government by Plato, a 
Greek philosopher. 

24. Utopia of More, Sir Thomas More (1480-1S35), author of 
"Utopia," an imaginary description of an ideal commonwealth. 

Oceana of Harrington. James Harrington (1611-1677), an author, 
wrote " Oceana," another description of an ideal commonwealth. 



88 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

rington. It is before me — it is at my feet, 
and the rude sivain treads daily on it with his 
clouted shoon. I only wish you to recognize, 
for the theory, the ancient constitutional 
5 policy of this kingdom with regard to repre- 
sentation, as that policy has been declared in 
acts of parliament; and, as to the practice, 
to return to that mode which an uniform 
experience has marked out to you, as best ; 
10 and in which you walked with security, 
advantage and honor, until the year 1763. 

My resolutions therefore mean to estab- 
lish the equity and justice of a taxation of 
America, by grant, and not by imposition. 
15 To mark the legal competency of the colony 
assemblies for the support of their govern- 
ment in peace, and for public aids in time of 
war. To acknowledge that this legal com- 
petency has had a dutiful and beneficial 
20 exercise; and that experience has shown the 
benefit of their grants, and the futility of par- 
liamentary taxation as a method of supply. 

These solid truths compose six fundamen- 
tal propositions. There are three more reso- 
lutions corollary to these. If you admit the 

2. See Milton's " Comus," lines 634, 636. 

3. clouted shoon, hob-nailed shoes. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 89 

first set, you can hardly reject the others. 
But if you admit the first, I shall be far from 
solicitous whether you accept or refuse the 
last. I think these six massive pillars will 
be of strength sufficient to support the temple 5 
of British concord. I have no more doubt 
than I entertain of my existence, that, if 
you admitted these, you would command an 
immediate peace; and, with but tolerable 
future management, a lasting obedience inio 
America. I am not arrogant in this con- 
fident assurance. The propositions are all 
mere, matters of fact ; and if they are such 
facts as draw irresistible conclusions even in 
the stating, this is the power of truth, and is 
not any management of mine. 

Sir, I shall open the whole plan to you, 
together with such observations on the 
motions as may tend to illustrate them 
where they may want explanation. The 20 
first is a resolution — " That the colonies 
and plantations of Great Britain in North 
America, consisting of fourteen separate 
governments, and containing two millions 
and upwards of free inhabitants, have not 25 
had the liberty and privilege of electing and 

6. temple of British concord, referring to the ancient Temple of 
Concord at Rome. 



90 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

sending any knight and burgesses, or others, 
to represent them in the high court of par- 
liament." — This is a plain matter of fact, 
necessary to be laid down, and (excepting 

6 the description) it is laid down in the lan- 
guage of the constitution ; it is taken nearly 
verbatim from acts of parliament. 

The second is like unto the first — "That 
the said colonies and plantations have been 

10 liable to, and bounden by, several subsidies, 
payments, rates, and taxes, given and granted 
by parliament, though the said colonies and 
plantations have not their knights and bur- 
gesses, in the said high court of parliament, 

16 of their own election, to represent the condi- 
tion of their country ; by lack whereof they 
have been oftentimes touched and grieved 
by subsidies given, granted, and assented 
to, in the said court, in a manner prejudicial 

20 to the commonwealth, quietness, rest, and 
peace of the subjects inhabiting within the 
same." 

Is this description too hot, or too cold, 
too strong, or too weak? Does it arrogate 

25 too much to the supreme legislature? Does 
it lean too much on the claims of the people ? 
If it runs into any of these errors, the fault is 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 91 

not mine. It is the language of your own 
ancient acts of parliament. 

JSfon meus hie sermo, sed quae proe,cepit 

Ofeilus, 
Rusticus, abnormis sapiens. 

\_Ofellus shall set forth. 5 
fTwas he that taught me it, a shrewd 

clear wit, 
Though country-spun, and for the schools 

unfit): 7 ] 

It is the genuine product of the ancient, 
rustic, manly, home-bred sense of this coun- 
try. — I did not dare to rub off a particle of 10 
the venerable rust that rather adorns and 
preserves, than destroys, the metal. It 
would be a profanation to touch with a tool 
the stones which construct the sacred altar 
of peace. I would not violate with modern 14 
polish the ingenuous and noble roughness of 
these truly constitutional materials. Above 
all things, I was resolved not to be guilty of 
tampering : the odious vice of restless and 
unstable minds. I put my foot in the tracks 30 
of our forefathers, where I can neither wander 
nor stumble. Determining to fix articles of 
peace, I was resolved not to be wise beyond 
what was written ; I was resolved to use 



92 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

nothing else than the form of sound words; 
to let others abound in their own sense ; and 
carefully to abstain from all expressions of 
my own. What the law has said, I say. In 

6 all things else I am silent. I have no organ 
but for her words. This, if it be not ingen- 
ious, I am sure is safe. 

There are indeed words expressive of 
grievance in this second resolution, which 

10 those who are resolved always to be in the 
right will deny to contain matter of fact, as 
applied to the present case ; although parlia- 
ment thought them true, with regard to the 
counties 'of Chester and Durham. They will 

15 deny that the Americans were ever " touched 
and grieved" with the taxes. If they con- 
sider nothing in taxes but their weight as 
pecuniary impositions, there might be some 
pretence for this denial. But men may be 

20 sorely touched and deeply grieved in their 
privileges, as well as in their purses. Men 
may lose little in property by the act which 
takes away all their freedom. When a man 
is robbed of a trine on the highway, it is 

25 not the two-pence lost that constitutes the 
capital outrage. This is not confined to 
privileges. Even ancient indulgences with- 



CONCILIATION WITH AMEBICif. 93 

drawn, without offence on the part of those 
who enjoyed such favors, operate as griev- 
ances. But were the Americans then not 
touched and grieved by the taxes, in some 
measure, merely as taxes? If so, why were s 
they almost all either wholly repealed or ex- 
ceedingly reduced ? Were they not touched 
and grieved even by the regulating duties of 
the sixth of George II? Else why were the 
duties first reduced to one-third in 1764, andio 
afterwards to a third of that third in the year 
1766? Were they not touched and grieved 
by the stamp act? I shall say they were, 
until that tax is revived. Were they not 
touched and grieved by the duties of 1767, 15 
which were, likewise repealed, and which 
Lord Hillsborough tells you (for the min- 
istry) were laid contrary to the true prin- 
ciple of commerce? Is not the assurance 
given by that noble person to the colonies of 20 
a resolution to lay no more taxes on them, 
an admission that taxes would touch and 
grieve them? Is not the resolution of the 
noble lord in the blue ribbon, now standing 
on your journals, the strongest of all proofs 25 

9. sixth of George II., sixth act of George II. 

13. stamp act, the American Stamp Act, 1765, ordering that ail legal 
documents, etc., be written on government stamped paper. 

17. Lord Hillsborough (1718-1793), Secretary of State for the Colonies 
(1768-1772). 



94 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

that parliamentary subsidies really touched 
and grieved them? Else why all these 
changes, modifications, repeals, assurances, 
and resolutions? 

» The next proposition is — /'That, from the 
distance of the said colonies, and from other 
circumstances, no method hath hitherto been 
devised for procuring a representation in par- 
liament for the said colonies." This is an 

10 assertion of a fact. I go no further on the 
paper; though, in my private judgment, an 
useful representation is impossible ; I am 
sure it is not desired by them ; nor ought it 
perhaps by us ; but I abstain from opinions. 

is The fourth resolution is — "That each of 
the said colonies hath within itself a body, 
chosen in part, or in the whole, by the free- 
men, freeholders, or other free inhabitants 
thereof, commonly called the General Assem- 

20 bly, or General Court ; with powers legally 
to raise, levy, and assess, according to the 
several usage of such colonies, duties and 
taxes towards defraying all sorts of public 
services." 

2& This competence in the colony assemblies 
is certain. It is proved by the whole tenor 
of their acts of supply in all the assemblies, in 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 95 

which the constant style of granting is " an 
aid to his Majesty ; " and acts granting to the 
crown have regularly for near a century 
passed the public offices without dispute. 
Those who have been pleased paradoxically 5 
to deny this right, holding that none but the 
British parliament can grant to the crown, 
are wished to look to what is done, not only 
in the colonies, but in Ireland, in one uniform 
unbroken tenor every session. Sir, I am sur- 10 
prised that this doctrine should come from 
some of the law servants of the crown. I 
say, that if the crown could be responsible, 
his Majesty — - but certainly the ministers, and 
even these law officers themselves, through 15 
whose hands the acts pass biennially in Ire- 
land, or annually in the colonies, are in an 
habitual course of committing impeachable 
offences. What habitual offenders have been 
all presidents of the council, all secretaries of 20 
state, all first lords of trade, all attornies and 
all solicitors general ! However, they are 
safe ; as no one impeaches them ; and there 
is no ground of charge against them, except 
in their own unfounded theories. ^ 

The fifth .resolution is also a resolution of 

8, wished, advised. 



96 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

fact — "That the said general assemblies, 
general courts, or other bodies legally quali- 
fied as aforesaid, have at sundry times freely 
granted several large subsidies and public aids 

* for his Majesty's service, according to their 
abilities, when required thereto by letter 
from one of his Majesty's principal secre- 
taries of state ; and that their right to grant 
the same, and their cheerfulness and suffi- 

iociency in the said grants, have been at 
sundry times acknowledged by parliament. *» 
To say nothing of their great expenses in the 
Indian wars ; and not to take their exertion 
in foreign ones, so high as the supplies in 

i&the year 1695 ; not to go back to their 
public contributions in the year 1710; I 
shall begin to travel only where the journals 
give me light ; resolving to deal in nothing 
but fact, authenticated by parliamentary 

so record ; and to build myself wholly on that 
solid basis. 

On the 4th of April, 1748, a committee of 
this House came to the following resolution : 

"Resolved, 
» 4< That it is the opinion of this committee, 
That it is just and reasonable that the several 
provinces and colonies of Massachusetts Bay, 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 97 

New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode 
Island, be reimbursed the expenses they 
have been at in taking and securing to the 
Crown of Great Britain the island of Cape 
Breton and its dependencies." * 

These expenses were immense for such 
colonies. They were above £200,000 ster- 
ling ; money first raised and advanced on 
their public credit. 

On the 28th day of Jaunary, 1756, aio 
message from the king came to us, to this 
effect : — "His Majesty, being sensible of the 
zeal and vigor with which his faithful sub- 
jects of certain colonies in North America 
have exerted themselves in defence of his is 
Majesty's just rights and possessions, rec- 
ommends it to this House to take the same 
into their consideration, and to enable his 
Majesty to give them such assistance as may 
be a proper reward and encouragement." 20 

On the 3rd of February, 1756, the House 
came to a suitable resolution, expressed in 
words nearly the same as those of the mes- 
sage : but with the further addition, that the 
money then voted was as an encouragements 
to the colonies to exert themselves with 
vigor. It will not be necessary to go 



98 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

through all the testimonies which your own 
records have given to the truth of my resolu- 
tions, I will only refer you to the places in 
the journals : 

6 Vol. xxvii.— 16th and 19th May, 1757. 

Vol. xxviii. — June 1st, 1758 — April 26th 

and 30th, 1759— March 26th 

and 31st, and April 28th, 

1760 — Jan. 9th and 20th, 

» 1761. 

Vol. xxix.— Jan. 22nd and 26th, 1762 — 
March 14th and 17th, 1763. 

Sir, here is the repeated acknowledgement 
of parliament, that the colonies not only 
15 gave, but gave to satiety. This nation has 
formerly acknowledged two things ; first, 
that the colonies had gone beyond their 
abilities, parliament having thought it nec- 
essary to reimburse them ; secondly, that 
20 they had acted legally and laudably in their 
grants of money, and their maintenance of 
troops, since the compensation is expressly 
given as reward and encouragement. Re- 
ward is not bestowed for acts that are unlaw- 
ful; and encouragement is not held out to 
things that deserve reprehension. My reso- 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 99 

lution therefore does nothing more than 
collect into one proposition, what is scat- 
tered through your journals. I give you 
nothing but your own ; and you cannot 
refuse in the gross, what you have so often 5 
acknowledged in detail. The admission of 
this, which will be so honorable to them and 
to you, will, indeed, be mortal to all the 
miserable stories, by which the passions of 
the misguided people have been engaged in 10 
an unhappy S3^stem. The people heard, 
indeed, from the beginning of these disputes, 
one thing continually dinned in their ears, 
that reason and justice demanded, that the 
Americans, who paid no taxes, should be 16 
compelled to contribute. How did that fact, 
of their paying nothing, stand, when the 
taxing system began? When Mr. Grenville 
began to form his system of American rev- 
enue, he stated in this House, that the 20 
colonies were then in debt two million six 
hundred thousand pounds sterling money ; 
and was of opinion they would discharge 
that debt in four years. On this state, those 
untaxed people were actually subject to the 26 
payment of taxes to the amount of six hun- 

18. Mr. Grevvitle, George Grenville (1712-1770), Prime Minister to 
England (1763-1765). He was the author of the American Stamp Act. 
24. state, statement. 



100 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

dred and fifty thousand a year. In fact, 
however, Mr. Grenville was mistaken. The 
funds given for sinking the debt did not 
prove quite so ample as both the colonies 

5 and he expected. The calculation was too 
sanguine ; the reduction was not completed 
till some years after, and at different times 
in different colonies. However, the taxes 
after the war continued too great to bear 

10 any addition, with prudence or propriety; 
and when the burthens imposed in conse- 
quence of former requisitions were dis- 
charged, our tone became too high to resort 
again to requisition. No colony, since that 

15 time, ever has had any requisition whatso- 
ever made to it. 

We see the sense of the crown, and the 
sense of parliament, on the productive nature 
of a revenue by grant. Now search the same 

20 journals for the produce of the revenue by 
imposition — Where is it? — let us know the 
volume and the page — what is the gross, 
what is the net produce? — to what service 
is it applied ? — how have you appropriated 

25 its surplus? — What, can none of the many 
skilful index-makers that we are now em- 
ploying, find any trace of it? — Well, let 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 101 

them and that rest together. — But are the 
journals, which -say nothing of the revenue, 
as silent on the discontent? — Oh no? a child 
may find it. It is the melancholy burthen 
and blot of every page. 5 

I think then I am, from those journals, 
justified in the sixth and last resolution, 
which is, — " That it hath been found by 
experience, that the manner of granting the 
said supplies and aids, by the said general 10 
assemblies, hath been more agreeable to the 
said colonies, and more beneficial, and con- 
ducive to the public service, than the mode 
of giving and granting aids in parliament, to 
be raised and paid in the said colonies." 15 
This makes the whole of the fundamental 
part of the plan. The conclusion is irresis- 
tible. You cannot say, that you were driven 
by any necessity to an exercise of the utmost 
rights of legislature. You cannot assert, 20 
that you took on yourselves the task of 
imposing colony taxes, from the want of an- 
other legal body, that is competent to the 
purpose of supplying the exigencies of the 
state without wounding the prejudices of 25 
the people. Neither is it true that the body 
so qualified, and having that competence, 
had neglected the duty. 



102 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

The question now, on all this accumulated 
matter, is ; — ■ whether you will choose to 
abide by a profitable experience, or a mis- 
chievous theory ; whether you choose to build 
6 on imagination, or fact; whether you prefer 
enjoyment, or hope ; satisfaction in your 
subjects, or discontent? 

If these propositions are accepted, every- 
thing which has been made to enforce a 

10 contrary system, must, I take it for granted, 
fall along with it. On that ground, I have 
drawn the following resolution, which, when 
it comes to be moved, will naturally be 
divided in a proper manner : " That it may 

16 be proper to repeal an act, made in the 
seventh year of the reign of his present 
Majesty, entitled, An act for granting cer- 
tain duties in the British colonies and planta- 
tions in America ; for allowing a drawback 

20 of the duties of customs upon the exportation 
from this kingdom, of coffee and cocoanuts, 
of the produce of the said colonies or planta- 
tions ; for discontinuing the drawbacks paya- 
ble on China earthenware exported to 

•^America; and for more effectually prevent- 
ing the clandestine running of goods in the 

19. allowing a drawback, allowance, refunding or partial paying back 
of a Custom duty. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 103 

said colonies and plantations. — And that it 
may be proper to repeal an act, made in the 
fourteenth year of the reign of his present 
Majesty, entitled, An act to discontinue, in 
such manner, and for such time, as ares 
therein mentioned, the landing, and dis- 
charging, lading or shipping, of goods, 
wares, and merchandise, at the town and 
within the harbor of Boston, in the province 
of Massachusetts Bay, in North America. — w 
And that it may be proper to repeal an act, 
liiade in the fourteenth year of the reign of 
his present Majesty, entitled, An act for the 
impartial administration of justice, in the 
cases of persons questioned for any acts done is 
by them, in the execution of the law^ or for 
the suppression of riots and tumults, in the 
province of Massachusetts Bay, in New Eng- 
land. — And that it may be proper to repeal 
an act, made in the fourteenth year of the 2© 
reign of his present Majesty, entitled, An 
act for the better regulating the government 
of the province of Massachusetts Bay, in 
New England. — And, also, that it may be 
proper to explain and amend an act, made in 25 
the thirty-fifth year of the reign of King 
Henry the Eighth, entitled, "An act for the 



104 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

trial of treasons committed out of the king's 
dominions." 

I wish, Sir, to repeal the Boston Port Bill, 
because (independently of the dangerous pre- 

6 cedent of suspending the rights of the subject 
during the king's pleasure) it was passed, as 
I apprehend, with less regularity, and on 
more partial principles, than it ought. The 
corporation of Boston was not heard before 

10 it was condemned. Other towns, full as 
guilty as she was, have not had their ports 
blocked up. Even the restraining bill of the 
present session does not go to the length of 
the Boston Port Act. The same ideas of 

15 prudence, which induced you not to extend 
equal punishment to equal guilt, even when 
you were punishing, induced me, who mean 
not to chastise, but to reconcile, to be sat- 
isfied with the punishment already partially 

so inflicted. 

Ideas of prudence and accommodation to 
circumstances, prevent you from taking away 
the charters of Connecticut and Rhode Island, 
as you have taken away that of Massachusetts 

^colony, though the crown has far less power 

3. Boston Port Bill, the bill mentioned above, to prevent the landing 
and shipping of goods from the port of Boston, introduced into the 
English Parliament by Lord North, 1774. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA: 105 

in the two former provinces than it enjoyed 
in the latter ; and though the abuses have 
been full as great, and as flagrant, in the 
exempted as in the punished. The same 
reasons of prudence and accommodation haves 
weight with me in restoring the charter of 
Massachusetts Bay. Besides, Sir, the act 
which changes the charter ot Massachusetts 
is in many particulars so exceptionable, that if 
I did not wish absolutely to repeal, I would w 
by all means desire to alter it ; as several of 
its provisions tend to the subversion of all 
public and private justice. Such, among' 
others, is the power in the governor to 
change the sheriff at his pleasure; and to** 
make a new returning officer for every 
special cause. It is shameful to behold such 
a regulation standing among English laws 

The act for bringing persons accused of 
committing murder under the orders of gov- 20 
ernment to England for trial is but temporary. 
That act has calculated the probable duration 
of our quarrel with the colonies ; and is ac- 
commodated to that supposed duration. I 
would hasten the happy moment of reconcilia-25 
tion ; and therefore must, on my principle, 
get rid of that most justly obnoxious act. 



106 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

The act of Henry the Eighth, for the trial 
of treasons, I do not mean to take away, but 
to confine it to its proper bounds and original 
intention ; to make it expressly for trial of 

6 treasons (and the greatest treasons may be 
committed) in places where the jurisdiction 
of the crown does not extend. 

Having guarded the privileges of local 
legislature, I would next secure to the colo- 

10 nies a fair and unbiassed judicature ; for 
which purpose, Sir, I propose the following 
resolution : w That, from the time when the 
general assembly or general court of any 
colony or plantation in North America, shall 

16 have appointed by. act of assembly, duly con- 
firmed, a settled salary to the offices of the 
chief justice and other judges of the superior 
court, it may be proper that the said chief 
justice and other judges of the superior 

^courts of such colony, shall hold his and their 
office and offices during their good behav- 
iour ; and shall not be removed thereform, 
but when the said removal shall be adjudged 
by his Majesty in council, upon a hearing on 

^complaint from the general assembly, or on 
a complaint from the governor, or council, 
or the house of representatives severally, or of 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 107 

the colony in which the said chief justice and 
other judges have exercised the said offices." 

The next resolution relates to the courts of 
admiralty. 

It is this : — ?f That it r$ay be proper to § 
regulate the Courts of Admiralty, or vice- 
admiralty, authorized by the fifteenth chapter 
of the fourth of George the Third, in such a 
manner as to make the same more commodi- 
ous to those who sue, or are sued, in the saidio 
courts, and to provide for the more decent 
maintenance of the judges in the same." 

These courts I do not wish to take away ; 
they are in themselves proper establishments. 
This court is one of the capital securities of is 
the Act of Navigation. The extent of its juris- 
diction, indeed, has been increased ; but this 
is altogether as proper, and is indeed on 
many accounts more eligible, where new 
powers were wanted, than a court absolutely^ 
new. But courts incommodiously situated, 
in effect, deny justice ; and a court, par- 

" The extent of the American illicit trade was very great ; in particu- 
lar, it was thought that, of a million and a half pounds of tea consumed 
annually in the Colonies, not more than one-tenth part was sent from 
England." 

3-16. " The great subject of discontent (in 1762) was the enforce- 
ment of the Acts of Trade by the Court of Admiralty, where a royalist 
judge determined questions of property without a jury, on information 
furnished by Crown officers, and derived his own emoluments exclu- 
sively from his portion of the forfeitures which he himself had full 
power to declare."— Bancroft. 



108 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

taking in the fruits of its own condemna- 
tion, is a robber. The congress complain, 
and complain justly, of this grievance. 

These are the three consequential propo- 
sitions. I have thought of two or three 
more ; but they come rather too near detail, 
and to the province of executive government ; 
which I wish parliament always to superin- 
tend, never to assume. If the first six are 
10 granted, congruity will dkrry the latter three. 
If not, the things that remain unrepealed will 
be, I hope, rather unseemly encumbrances on 
the building, than very materially detrimental 
to its strength and stability, 
is Here, Sir, I should close; but- 1 plainly 
perceive some objections remain, which I 
ought, if possible, to remove. The first 
will be, that, in resorting to the doctrine 
of our ancestors, as contained in the pre- 
20 amble to the Chester act, I prove too much ; 
that the grievance from a want of represen- 
tation, stated in that preamble, goes to the 
whole of legislation as well as to taxation. 
And that the colonies, grounding themselves 
25 upon that doctrine, will apply it to all parts 
of legislative authority. 

To this objection, with all possible defer- 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 109 

ence and humility, and wishing as little as 
any man living to impair the smallest particle 
of our supreme authority, I answer, that the 
words are the ivords of parliament, and not 
mine; and, that all false and inconclusive 5 
inferences, drawn from tbem, are not mine ; 
for I heartily disclaim any such inference. I 
have chosen the words of an act of parlia- 
ment, which Mr. Grenville, surely a tolerably 
zealous and very judicious advocate for the 10 
sovereignty of parliament, formerly moved 
to have read at your table in confirmation of 
his tenets. It is true, that Lord Chatham 
considered these preambles as declaring 
strongly in favor of his opinions. He was 15 
a no less powerful advocate for the privileges 
of the Americans. Ought I not from hence to 
presume, that these preambles are as favor- 
able as possible to both, when properly 
understood ; favorable both to the rights of 20 
parliament, and to the privilege of the depen- 
dencies of this crown? But, Sir, the object 
of grievance in my resolution I have not 
taken from the Chester, but from the Dur- 
ham act, which confines the hardship of want 25 

13. Lord Chatham, William Pitt 1708-1778). one of the most eminent 
of English statesmen. He opposed the Stamp Act, and was in favor of 
greater freedom for the Colonies . 



110 . CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

of representation to the case of subsidies ; 
and which therefore falls in exactly with the 
case of the colonies. But whether the unrep- 
resented counties were dejure {in latv), or de 

b facto (in fact), bound, the preambles do not 
accurately distinguish ; nor indeed was it 
necessary ; for, whether de jure, or de facto, 
the legislature thought the exercise of the 
power of taxing, as of right, or as of fact 

i° without right, equally a grievance, and 
equally oppressive. 

I do not know that the colonies have, in 
any general way, or in any cool hour, gone 
much beyond the demand of immunity in 

15 relation to taxes. It is not fair to judge 
of the temper or dispositions of any man, 
or of any set of men, when they are com- 
posed and at rest, from their conduct, or 
their expressions, in a state of disturbance 

20 and irritation. It is besides a very great 
mistake to imagine, that mankind follow up 
practically any speculative principle, either 
of government or of freedom, as far as it 
will go in argument and logical illation. 

25 We Englishmen stop very short of the prin- 
ciples upon which we support any given part 
of our constitution ; or even the whole of it 

24. illation, inference. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. Ill 

together. I could easily, if I had not already 
tired you, give you very striking and con- 
vincing instances of it. This is nothing but 
what is natural and proper. All govern- 
ment, indeed every human benefit and enjoy- 5 
ment, every virtue, and every prudent act, 
is founded on compromise and barter. We 
balance inconveniences ; we give and take ; 
we remit some rights that we may enjoy 
others; and we choose rather to be happy 10 
citizens than subtle disputants. As we must 
give away some natural liberty, to enjoy civil 
advantages ; so we must sacrifice some civil 
liberties, for the advantages to be derived 
from the communion and fellowship of a 15 
great empire. But, in all fair dealings, the 
thing bought must bear some proportion to 
the purchase paid. None will barter away 
the immediate jewel of his soul. Though a 
great house is apt to make slaves haughty, 20 
yet it is purchasing a part of the artificial 
importance of a great empire too dear, to 
pay for it all essential rights, and all the 
intrinsic dignity of human nature. None of 
us who would not* risk his life rather than 25 
fall under a government purely arbitrary. 

19. jewel of his soul, see " Othello,' ' iii., 3. 



112 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

But although there are some amongst us who 
think our constitution wants many improve- 
ments, to make it a complete system of lib- 
erty ; perhaps none who are of that opinion 

5 would think it right to aim at such improve- 
ment, by disturbing his country, and risking 
everything that is dear to him. In very 
arduous enterprise, we consider what we are 
to lose as well as what we are to gain ; and 

^the more and better stake of liberty every 
people possess, the less they will hazard in 
a vain attempt to make it more. These are 
the cords of man. Man acts from adequate 
motives relative to his interest ; and not on 

16 metaphysical speculations. Aristotle, the 
great master of reasoning, cautions us, and 
with great weight and propriety, against 
this species of delusive geometrical accuracy 
in moral arguments, as the most fallacious of 

«> all sophistry. 

The Americans will have no interest con- 
trary to the grandeur and glory of England, 
when they are not oppressed by the weight 
of it ; and they will rather be inclined to 

25 respect the acts of a superintending legisla- 

13. the cords of man y see Hosea, xi., 4. — " I drew them with cords of a 
man, with bands of love " 

15. Aristotle, philosopher, and writer of "Ethics," of ancient Greece. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 113 

ture, when they see them the acts of that 
power, which is itself the security, not the 
rival, of their secondary importance. In 
this asssurance, my mind most perfectly 
acquiesces: and I confess, I feel not the 5 
least alarm from the discontents which are 
to arise from putting people at their ease ; 
nor do I apprehend the destruction of this 
empire, from giving, by an act of free grace 
and indulgence, to two millions of my fel- 10 
low-citizens some share of those rights, upon 
which I have always been taught to value 
myself. 

It is said, indeed, that this power of 
granting, vested in American assemblies, 15 
would dissolve the unity of the empire ; 
which was preserved entire, although Wales, 
and Chester, and Durham were added to it. 
Truly, Mr. Speaker, I do not know what 
this unity means ; nor has it ever been heard 20 
of, that I know, in the constitutional policy 
of this country, The very idea of subordi- 
nation of parts, excludes this notion of simple 
and undivided unity. England is the head; 
but she is not the head and the members too. » 
Ireland has ever had from the beginning a 
separate, but not an independent legisla- 



114 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

ture ; which, far from distracting, promoted 
the union of the whole. Everything was 
sweetly and harmoniously disposed through 
both islands for the conservation of English 

5 dominion, and the communication of English 
liberties. I do not see that the same prin- 
ciples might not be carried into twenty 
islands, and with the same good effect. 
This is my model with regard to America, 

10 as far as the internal circumstances of the 
two countries are the same. I know no 
other unity of this empire, than I can draw 
from its example during these periods, when 
it seemed to my poor understanding more 

15 united than it is now, or than it is likely to 
be by the present methods. 

But since I speak of these methods, I 
recollect, Mr. Speaker, almost too late, that 
I promised, before I finished, to say some- 

20 thing of the proposition of the noble lord on 
the floor, which has been so lately received, 
and stands on your journals. I must be 
deeply concerned, whenever it is my mis- 
fortune to continue a difference with the 

^majority of this House. But as the reasons 
for that difference are my apology for thus 

20. noble lord, Lord North. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 115 

troubling you, suffer me to state them in a 
very few words. I shall compress them into 
as small a body as I. possibly can, having 
already debated that matter at large, when 
the question was before the committee. 5 

First, then, I cannot admit that proposi- 
tion of a ransom by auction ; — because it is 
a mere project. It is a thing new ; unheard 
of; supported by no experience ; justified by 
no analogy, without example of our ances- 10 
tors, or root in the constitution. 

It is neither regular parliamentary taxa- 
tion, nor colony grant. Expevimentum in 
corpore vili (Try experiments only upon what 
is of no value), is a good rule, which will 15 
ever make me adverse to any trial of experi- 
ments on what is certainly the most valuable 
of all subjects, the peace of this empire. 

Secondly, it is an experiment which must 
be fatal in the end to our constitution. For 20 
what is it but a scheme for taxing the colo- 
nies in the antechamber of the noble lord 
and his successors? To settle the quotas and 
proportions in this House, is clearly impos- 
sible. You, Sir, may flatter yourself you 25 
shall sit a state auctioneer, with your ham- 
mer in your hand, and knock down to each 



116 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

colony as it bids. But to settle (on the plan 
laid down by the noble lord) the true propor- 
tional payment for four or five and twenty 
governments, according to the absolute and 

5 the relative wealth of each, and according to 
the British proportion of wealth and burthen, 
is a wild and chimerical notion. This new 
taxation must therefore come in by the back- 
door of the constitution. Each quota must 

10 be brought to this House ready formed ; j^ou 
can neither add nor alter. You must register 
it. You can do nothing further. For 

on what grounds can you deliberate either 
before or after the proposition ? You cannot 

15 hear the counsel for all these provinces, quar- 
relling each on its own quantity of payment, 
and its proportion to others. If you should 
attempt it, the committee of provincial ways 
and means, or by whatever other name it will 

20 delight to be called, must swallow up all the 
time of parliament. 

Thirdly, it does not give satisfaction to 
the complaint of the colonies. They com- 
plain, that they are taxed without their 

25 consent; you answer, that you will fix the 
sum at which they shall be taxed. That 
is, you give them the very grievance for the 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 117 

remedy. You tell them indeed, that you 
will leave the mode to themselves. I really 
beg pardon : it gives me pain to mention it ; 
but you must be sensible that you will not 
perform this part of the compact. For, 
suppose the colonies were to lay the duties, 5 
which furnished their contingent, upon the 
importation of your manufactures ; you know 
you would never suffer such a tax to be laid. 
You know, too, that you would not suffer 
many other modes of taxation. So that, 10 
when you come to explain yourself, it will 
be found, that you will neither leave to 
themselves the quantum nor the mode ; nor 
indeed, anything. The whole is delusion 
from one end to the other. 18 

Fourthly, this* method of ransom by auc- 
tion, unless it be universally accepted, will 
plunge you into great and inextricable diffi- 
culties. In what year of our Lord are the 
proportions of payments to be settled ? To 2° 
say nothing of tl ° impossibility that colony 
agents should have o °neral powers of taxing 
the colonies at their cli. Tretion ; consider, I 
implore you, that the communication by 
special messages, and orders between these 25 
agents and their constituents on each varia- 



118 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

tion of the case, when the parties come to 
contend together, and to dispute on their 
relative proportions, will be a matter of 
delay, perplexity, and confusion that never 
6 can have an end. 

If all the colonies do not appear at the 
outcry, what is the condition of those 
assemblies, who offer by themselves or their 
agents to tax themselves up to your ideas of 
10 their proportion? The refractory colonies, 
who refuse all composition, will remain taxed 
only to your old impositions, which, how- 
ever grievous in principle, are trifling as to 
production. The obedient colonies in this 
15 scheme are heavily taxed ; the refractory 
remain unburthened. What will you do? 
Will you lay new and heavier taxes by par- 
liament on the disobedient? Pray consider 
in what way you can do it. You are per- 
fectly convinced, that, in the way of taxing, 
you can do nothing but at the ports. Now 
suppose it is Virginia that refuses to appear 
at your auction, while Maryland and North 
Carolina bid handsomely for their ransom, 
25 and are taxed to your quota, how will you 
put these colonies on a par? Will you tax 
the tobacco of Virginia? If you do, you give 

27 tobacco of Virginia. In Virginia taxes were paid in tobacco, and 
all revenues were collected in tobacco. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 119 

its death-wound to your English revenue at 
home, and^ to one of the very greatest 
articles of your own foreign trade. If you 
tax the import of that rebellious colony, 
what do you tax but your own manufac- 5 
turers, or the goods of some other obedient 
and already well-taxed colony? Who has 
said one word on this labyrinth of detail, 
which bewilders you more and more as you 
enter into it? Who has presented, who can 10 
present you with a clue, to lead you out of 
it? I think, Sir, it is impossible, that you 
should not recollect that the colony bounds 
are so implicated in one another, (you know 
it by your other experiments in the bill for 16 
prohibiting the New England fishery,) that 
you can lay no possible restraints on almost 
any of them which may not be presently 
eluded, if you do not confound the innocent 
with the guilty, and burthen those whom, 20 
upon every principle, you ought to exon- 
erate. He must be grossly ignorant of 
America, who thinks that, without falling 
into this confusion of all rules of equity and 
policy, you can restrain any single colony, ®> 
especially Virginia and Maryland, the central 
and most important of them all. 



120 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

Let it also be considered, that, either in 
the present confusion you settle a permanent 
contingent, which will and must be trifling; 
and then you have no effectual revenue : or 
5 you change the quota at every exigency ; and 
then on every new repartition you will have 
a new quarrel. 

Reflect besides, that when you have fixed a 
quota for every colony, you have not pro- 
vided for prompt and punctual payment. 
Suppose one, two, five, ten years' arrears. 
You cannot issue a treasury extent against 
the failing colony. You must make new 
Boston Port Bills, new restraining laws, 
l5 new acts for dragging men to England for 
trial. You must send out new fleets, new 
armies. All is to begin again. From this 
day forward the empire is never to know an 
hour's tranquility. An intestine fire will be 
20 kept alive in the bowels of the colonies, 
which one time or other must consume this 
whole empire. I allow indeed that the 
empire of Germany raises her revenue and 
her troops by quotas and contingents ; 
25 but the revenue of the empire, and the 



12. treasury extent, a legal attachment against the lands and goods of 
a debtor to the crown. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 121 

army of the empire, is the worst revenue 
and the worst army in the world. 

Instead of a standing revenue, you will 
therefore have a perpetual quarrel. Indeed 
the noble lord, who proposed this project of 5 
a ransom by auction, seemed himself to Ibe 
of that opinion. His project was rather 
designed for breaking the union of the colo- 
nies, than for establishing a revenue. He 
confessed, he apprehended that his proposal 10 
would not be to their taste. I say, this 
scheme of disunion seems to be at the 
bottom of the project ; for I will not suspect 
that the noble lord meant nothing but merely 
to delude the nation by an airy phantom i* 
which he never intended to realize. But 
whet-ever his views may be ; as I propose 
the peace and union of the colonies as the 
very foundation of my plan, it cannot 
accord with one whose foundation is per- 20 
petual discord. 

Compare the two. This I offer to give 
you is plain and simple. The other full of 
perplexed and intricate mazes. This is mild ; 
that harsh. This is found by experience^ 
effectual for its purposes ; the other is a new 
project. This is universal ; the other cal- 



122 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

ciliated for certain colonies only. This is 
immediate in its conciliatory operation ; the 
other remote, contingent, full of hazard. 
Mine is what becomes the dignity of a ruling 

& people; gratuitous, unconditional, and not 
held out as a matter of bargain and sale. I 
have done my duty in proposing it to you. 
I have indeed tired you by a long discourse ; 
but this is the misfortune of those to whose 

10 influence nothing will be conceded, and who 
must win every inch of their ground by 
argument. You have heard me with good- 
ness. May you decide with wisdom ! For 
my part, I feel my mind greatly disburth- 

wened by what I have done to-day. I have 
been the less fearful of trying your patience, 
because on this subject I mean to spare it 
altogether in future. I have this comfort, 
that in every stage of the American affairs, I 

20 have steadily opposed the measures that have 
produced the confusion, and may bring on 
the destruction, of this empire. I now go 
so far as to risk a proposal of my own. 
If I cannot give peace to my country, I 

ae give it to my conscience. 

But what (says the financier) is peace to 
us without money ! Your plan gives us no 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 128 

revenue. No ! But it does — For it secures 
to the subject the power of REFUSAL ; the 
the first of all revenues. Experience is a 
cheat, and fact a liar, if this power in the 
subject of proportioning his grant, or of* 
not granting at all, has not been found the 
richest mine of revenue ever discovered by 
the skill or by the fortune of man. It does 
not indeed vote you £152,750: 11: 2|ths, 
nor any other paltry limited sum. — But it 10 
gives the strong box itself, the fund, the 
bank, from whence only revenues can arise 
amongst a people sensible of freedom : Posita 
luditur area. (The chest is staked.) Cannot 
you in England ; cannot you at this time of u 
day ; cannot you, a House of Commons, trust 
to the principle which has raised so mighty a 
revenue, and accumulated a debt of near 140 
millions in this country ? Is this principle to 
be true in England, and false everywhere*) 
else ? Is it not true in Ireland ? Has it not 
hitherto been true in the colonies ? Why 
should you presume, that, in any country, a 
body duly constituted for any function, will 
neglect to perform its duty, and abdicate its 26 
trust ? Such a presumption would go against 

14. The chest is staked, a gambling phrase. 



124 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

all governments in all modes. But, in truth, 
this dread of penury of supply, from a free 
assembly, has no foundation in nature. For 
first observe, that, besides the desire which 

sail men have naturally of supporting the 
honor of their own government, that sense 
of dignity, and that security to property, 
which ever attends freedom, has a tendency 
to increase the stock of the free community. 

10 Most may be taken where most is accumu- 
lated. And what is the soil or climate where 
experience has not uniformly proved, that 
the voluntary flow of heaped-up plenty, 
bursting from the weight of its own rich 

15 luxuriance, has ever run with a more copious 
stream of revenue, than could be squeezed 
from the dry husks of oppressed indigence, 
by the straining of all the politic machinery 
in the world. 

20 Next we know, that parties must ever 
exist in a free country. We know too, that 
the emulations of such parlies, their contra- 
dictions, their reciprocal necessities, their 
hopes, and their fears, must send them all in 

25 their turns to him that holds the balance of 
the state. The parties are the gamesters; 
but government keeps the table, and is sure 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 125 

to be the winner in the end. When this 
game is played, I really think it is more to 
be feared that the people will be exhausted, 
than that government will not be supplied. 
Whereas, whatever is got by acts of absolute 5 
power ill obeyed, because odious, or by con- 
tracts ill kept, because constrained, will be 
narrow, feeble, uncertain, and precarious. 
w Ease icould retract votes made in pain as 
violent and void." 10 

I, for one, protest against compounding 
our demands : I declare against compounding 
for a poor limited sum, the immense, ever- 
growing, eternal debt, which is due to gener- 
ous government from protected freedom.15 
And so may I speed in the great object I 
propose to you, as I think it would not only 
be an act of injustice, but would be the worst 
economy in the world, to compel the colonies 
to a certain sum, either in the way of ran- 20 
som, or in the way of compulsory compact. 

But to clear up my ideas on this subject — 
a revenue from America transmitted hither — 
do not delude yourselves — you never can 
receive it — No, not a shilling. We have 25 
experience that from remote countries it is 

9. See Milton's " Paradise Lost," Book iv., lines 96, 97. 



126 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

not to be expected. If, when you attempted 
to extract revenue from Bengal, you were 
obliged to return in loan what you had taken 
in imposition ; what can you expect from 

* North America? For certainly, if ever there 
was a country qualified to produce wealth, it 
is India ; or an institution fit for the trans- 
mission, it is the East India Company. 
America has none of these aptitudes. If 

10 America gives you taxable objects, on w T hich 
you lay your duties here, and gives you, at 
the same time, a surplus by a foreign sale of 
her commodities to pay the duties on these 
objects, which you tax at home, she has per- 

informed her part to the British revenue. But 
with regard to her own internal establish- 
ments ; she may, I doubt not she will, con- 
tribute in moderation. I say in moderation ; 
for she ought not to be permitted to exhaust 

30 herself. She ought to be reserved to a war ; 
the weight of which, with the enemies that 
we are most likely to have, must be consid- 
erable in her quarter of the globe. There 
she may serve you, and serve you essentially. 
"S tor that service, for all service, whether 
of revenue, trade, or empire, my trust is in 
her interest in the British constitution. Mv 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 127 

hold of the colonies is in the close affection 
which grows from common names, from kin- 
dred blood, from similar privileges, and 
equal protection. These are ties, which, 
though light as air, are as strong as links of 5 
iron. Let the colonies always keep the idea 
of their civil rights associated with }^our 
government ; — they will cling and grapple 
to you ; and no force under heaven will be 
of power to tear them from their allegiance. 10 
But let it be once understood, that your gov- 
ernment may be one thing, and their privi- 
leges another; that these two things may 
exist without any mutual relation ; the 
cement is gone ; the cohesion is loosened ; 15 
and everything hastens to decay and dissolu- 
tion. As long as you have the wisdom to 
keep the sovereign authority of this country 
as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred tern- . 
pie consecrated to our common faith, wher- 20 
ever the chosen race and sons of England 
worship freedom,, they will turn their faces 
towards you. The more they multiply, the 
more friends you will have ; the more 
ardently they love liberty, the more perfect 25 
will be their obedience. Slavery they can 
have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in 



128 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

9 

every soil. They may have it from Spain, 
they may have it from Prussia. But, until 
you become lost to all feeling of your true 
interest and your natural dignity, freedom 
6 they can have from none but you. This m 
the commodity of price, of which you have 
the monopoly. This is the true act of navi- 
gation, which binds to you the commerce of 
of the colonies, and through them secures to 
io you the wealth of the world. Deny them 
this participation of freedom, and you break 
that sole bond, which originally made, and 
must still preserve, the unity of the empire. 
Do not entertain so weak an imagination, as 
15 that your registers and your bonds, your affi- 
davits §md your sufferances, your cockets and 
your clearances, are what form the great 
securities of your commerce. Do not dream 
that your letters of office, and your instruc- 
tions, and your suspending clauses, are the 
things that hold together the great contex- 
ture of the mysterious whole. These things 
do not make your government. Dead in- 
struments, passive tools as they are, it is the 

16. sufferances, ship permits. 

. rockets, a Custom House document certiiiying tbat a ship's cargo 
had been duly entered. 

17. clearances, clearance papers, permit to sail. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 129 

spirit of the English communion that gives 
all their life and efficacy to them. It is the 
spirit of the English constitution, which, 
infused through the mighty mass, pervades, 
feeds, unites, invigorates, vivify s every part 5 
of the empire, even down to the minutest 
member. 

Is it not the same virtue which does every- 
thing for us here in England? Do you 
imagine then, that it is the land tax act which 10 
raises your revenue? that it is the annual 
vote in the committee of supply which gives 
you your army ? or that it is the mutiny bill 
which inspires it with bravery and discipline ? 
No ! surely no ! It is the love of the people ; 15 
it is their attachment to their government, 
from the sense of the deep stake they have 
in such a glorious institution, which gives 
you your army and your navy, and infuses 
into both that liberal obedience, without2o 
which your army would .be a base rabble, 
and your navy nothing but rotten timber. 

All this, I know well enough, will sound 
wild and chimerical to the profane herd of 
those vulgar and mechanical politicians, who 25 
have no place among us ; a sort of people 
who think that nothing exists but what is 



130 CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 

gross and material ; and who therefore, far 
from being qualified to be directors of the 
great movement of empire, are not fit to turn 
a wheel in the machine. But to men truly 

5 initiated and rightly taught, these ruling and 
master principles, which, in the opinion of 
such men as I have mentioned, have no sub- 
stantial existence, are in truth everything, 
and all in all. Magnanimity in politics is 

10 not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great 
empire and little minds go ill together. If 
we are conscious of our situation, and glow 
with zeal to fill our place as becomes our 
station and ourselves, we ought to auspicate 

15 all our public proceedings on America with 
the old warning of the church, Sursum 
Qorda! (Lift up your hearts.) We ought 
to elevate our minds to the greatness of that 
trust to which the order of Providence has 

20 called us. By adverting to the dignity of 
this high calling, our ancestors have turned 
a savage wilderness into a glorious empire ; 
and have made the most extensive, and the 
only honorable conquests, not by destroying, 

25 but by promoting the wealth, the number, 
the happiness of the human race. Let us 

14. auspicate, initiate, inaugurate. 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 131 

get an American revenue as we have got an 
American empire. English privileges have 
made it all that it is. English privileges 
alone will make it all it can be. 

In full confidence of this unalterable truth, 5 
I now (qitod felix faustumque sit) {and may 
it be happy and fortunate) lay the first stone 
of the temple of peace ; and I move you, 

"That the colonies and plantations of 
Great Britain in North America, consisting 10 
of fourteen separate governments, and con- 
taining two millions and upwards of free 
inhabitants, have not had the liberty and 
privilege of electing and sending any knights 
and burgesses, or others, to represent themi§ 
in the high court of parliament." 



Upon this resolution, the previous ques- 
tion was put, and carried ; — for the previous 
question 270, against it 78. The second, 
third, fourth, and thirteenth resolutions had 20 
also the previous question put on them. The 
others were negatived. 



132 conciliation with america. 

Mr. Burke's Proposals. 

"That the colonies and plantations of 
Great Britain in North America, consisting 
of fourteen separate governments, and con- 
taining two millions and upwards of free 
inhabitants, have not had the liberty and 
privilege of electing and sending any knights 
and burgesses, or others, to represent them 
in the high court of parliament." 
30 "That the said colonies and plantations 
have been made liable to, and bounden by 
several subsidies, payments, rates, and taxes, 
given and granted by parliament ; though 
the said colonies and plantations have not 
is their knights and burgesses, in the said high 
court of parliament, of their own election, 
to represent the condition of their country ; 
by lack whereof they have been oftentimes 
touched and grieved by subsidies given, 
20 granted, and assented to, in the said court, 
in a manner prejudicial to the common- 
wealth, quietness, rest, and peace, of the 
subjects inhabiting within the same." 

"That, from the distance of the said colo- 

2, nies, and from other circumstances, no 

method hath hitherto been devised for pro- 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 138 

curing a representation in parliament for the 
said colonies." 

"That each of the said colonies hath within 
itself a body, chosen, in part or in the whole, 
by the freemen, freeholders, or other frees 
inhabitants thereof, commonly called the 
general assembly, or general court; with 
powers legally to raise, levy, and assess, 
according to the several usage of such colo- 
nies, duties and taxes towards defraying allio 
sorts of public services." 

" That the said general assemblies, general 
courts, or other bodies, legally qualified as 
aforesaid, have at sundry times freely granted 
several large subsidies and public aids for u 
his Majesty's service, according to their 
abilities, when required thereto by letter 
from one of his Majesty's principal secreta- 
ries of state ; and that their right to grant 
the same, and their cheerfulness and suffici-20 
ency in the said grants, have been at sundry 
times acknowledged by parliament." 

"That it hath been found by experience, 
that the manner of granting the said supplies 
and aids, by the said general assemblies, hath 25 
been more agreeable to the inhabitants of the 
said colonies, and more* beneficial and con- 



134 CONCILIATION AVITH AMERICA. 

ducive to the public service, than the mode 
of giving and granting aids and subsidies in 
parliament to be raised and paid in the said 
colonies." 

5 "That it may be proper to repeal an act, 
made in the seventh year of the reign of his 
present Majesty, entitled, An act for granting 
certain duties in the British colonies and plan- 
tations in America ; for allowing a drawback 

10 of the duties of customs, upon the expor- 
tations from this kingdom, of coifee and 
cocoa-nuts, of the produce of the said 
colonies or plantations ; for discontinuing the 
drawbacks payable on China earthenware 

15 exported to America ; and for more effectu- 
ally preventing the clandestine running of 
goods in the said colonies and plantations." 

" That it may be proper to repeal an act, 
made in the fourteenth year of the reign of 

20 his present Majesty, entitled, An act to dis- 
continue, in such manner, and for such time, 
as are therein mentioned, the landing and 
discharging, lading or shipping of goods, 
wares, and merchandise, at the town, and 

25 within the harbor, of Boston, in the province 
of Massachusetts Bay, in North America." 
" That it may be proper to repeal an act, 



CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 135 

made in the fourteenth year of the reign of 
his present Majesty, entitled, An act for the 
impartial adminstration of justice, in cases 
of persons questioned for any acts done by 
them in the execution of the law, or for the 5 
suppression of riots and tumults, in the 
province of Massachusetts Bay, in New 
England." 

"That it is proper to repeal an act, made 
in the fourteenth year of the reign of his 10 
present Majesty, entitled, An act for the 
better re^ulatin^ the government of the 
province of Massachusetts Bay, in New 
England." 

"That it is proper to explain and amend 16 
an act made in the thirty-fifth year of the 
reign of King Henry VIII., entitled, An act 
for the trial of treasons committed out of the 
king's dominions." 

"That, from the time of the general 20 
assembly, or general court, of any colony or 
plantation, in North America, shall have 
appointed, by act of assembly duly con- 
firmed, a settled salary to the offices of the 
chief justice and judges of the superior 25 
courts, it may be proper that the said chief 
justice and other judges of the superior 






136 CONCILIATION' WITH AMERICA. 

courts of such colony shall hold his and 
their office and offices during their good 
behavior ; and shall not be removed there- 
from, but when the said removal shall be 

5 adjudged by his Majesty in council, upon a 
hearing on complaint from the general assem- 
bly, or on a complaint from the governor, 
or council, or the house of representatives, 
severally . of the colony in which the said 

10 chief justice and other judges have exercised 
the said office." 

"That it may be proper to regulate the 
courts of admiralty, or vice-admiralty., au- 
thorized by the fifteenth chapter of the 

15 fourth of George III., in such a manner, 
as to make the same more commodious to 
those who sue, or are sued, in the said 
courts ; and to provide for the more decent 
maintenance of the judges of the same." 



1 1VJJ V^JL^L>I X V^l^JTiDOlOO^ 



No. 

105. 
106. 
107. 
108. 
{25. 



4th Grade. (Continued.) No. 6th Grade. (Contit:. 

The Dragon's Teeth. (Hawtb- 
Great Ston<= c ace. (Hawthor^ 
Snow Image. (Hawthorne.) 
Selections from Longfellow. 

7th Grade. 

Story of Macbeth. 
Lays of Ancient Rome. — 1. 
Enoch Arden. (Tennyson.) 
Philip of Pokanoket. (Irving 
The Voyage, etc. (Irving.) 
Ancient Mariner. (Coleridg< 
Evangeline. (Longfellow.) 
Lady of the Lake. Canto II. 

8th Grade. 



Stories and Rhymes of Birdland. I. 
Stories and Rhymes of Birdland. II. 
Stories and Rhymes of Flowerland. I. 
Stories and Rhymes of Flowerland. II. 
Selections from Longfellow. 

5th Grade. 



23. Hawthorne's Three Golden Apples. 

24. Hawthorne's Miraculous Pitcher. 

33. The Chimaera. (Hawthorne.) 

34. Paradise of Children. (Hawthorne.) 
92. Audubon. 
97. Jefferson. 

102. JJathan Hale, 



93- 
94. 
126. 



40. 
41. 

58. 



»6th Grade. 
15. Legend of Sleepy Hollow. (Irving.) 
16. Rip Van Winkle, etc. (Irving.) 
32. King of the Golden River. (Ruskin.) 
39. We are Seven, etc. (Wordsworth.) 
47. Rab and His Friends. 
50. Christmas Eve, etc. (Irving.) 
54. Pied Piper of Hamelin. (Browning.) 
55 John Gilpin, etc. (Cowper.) 
57. Lady of the Lake. Canto I. (Scott.) 

66. Declaration of Independence. 

67. Thanatopsis and Other Poems. 

84. The Minotaur. (Hawthorne.) 

85. The Pygmies. (Hawthorne.) 



19. The Deserted Village. Gok 

37. Othello, etc. (LambO 

38. The Tempest, etc. (Lamb.) 
49. L' Allegro and Other Poems. 
51 As You Like It. (Shakespe? 

52. Merchant of Venice . (Shake 

53. Henry the Eighth. (Shakes 
56. The Elegy, etc. (Gray.) 

59. Lady <5f the Lake. Canto II 
65. Sir Roger De Coverley. 
80. Cotter's Saturday Night (I 
88. Sir Launfal. (Lowell.) 
in. The Prisoner of Chillon. (B 

112. Lady of the Lake. Canto II 

113. Lady of the Lake. Canto V 

114. Lady of the Lake; Canto V 



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